Columbia Theological Seminary
Volume LVII, No. 3
FOREWORD— By J. McDowell Richards
1 "The Concept of Balance in the Old Testament"
... By Ludwig R. Dewitz
19 "Can Catholics and Protestants really talk together?"
... By Shirley C. Guthrie, Jr.
34 "Moral Values in Society"
... By Thomas H. McDill
46 "Philosophical Elements in the Early Reformed Tradition"
... By Paul T. Fuhrmann
62 "The Enigma of Death"
... By Stuart B. Babbage
CONTEMPORARY THEOLOGICAL COMMENTARY
79 From England By Knox Chamblin
85 From Germany By Gerhard Wehmeier
91 From Italy By Thurlow Weed
95 J. A. T. Robinson, Honest to God
... By Neely McCarter
103 HEINZ ZAHRNT, The Historical Jesus (Translated by J. S.
... By Charles B. Cousar
107 CLAUS WESTERMAN (ed.) Essays on Old Testament Her-
meneutics (Translated by J. L. Mays)
107 BERNARD W. ANDERSON (ed.) The Old Testament and
Christian Faith: A Theological Discussion
... By James H. Gailey, Jr.
1 1 1 PUBLICATIONS BY MEMBERS OF THE FACULTY
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Volume LVII July, 1964 No. 3
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J. McDowell Richards
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LYRASIS Members and Sloan Foundation
The Concept of Balance
In The Old Testament
Ludwig R. Dewitz
If one tried to define a certain trend in recent publications
pertaining to the Old Testament field of Biblical studies, it
could be said that "balance" is one of the dominating factors.
Anderson's panel discussions on The Old Testament and Chris-
tian Faith as well as Westermann's collection of Essays on Old
Testament Hermeneutics, Barr's books on The Semantics of
Biblical Language and Biblical Words for Time, the theologies
of Eichrodt, Vriezen and v. Rad, however much they may
differ as to method, these books focus attention on all factors
involved, thus avoiding a position of imbalance. In this con-
nection it is striking to note that two essays, dealing with Egypt
and Mesopotamia respectively, in Frankfort's publication The
Intellectual Adventure of Ancient Man state that the decline of
these two cultures might be traced to an inherent imbalance in
them. Wilson concludes: "Egypt had not had the opportunity
or the capacity to work out the interrelation of man and God in
terms satisfactory to both. To put it in a different context,
Egypt had not had the opportunity or the capacity to work out
the interrelation of the individual and the community in terms
of benefit to both." 1 Similarly Jacobsen remarks concerning
Mesopotamia: "Divine will and human ethics proved incom-
mensurable," and then comments on the "Dialogue of Pessi-
mism": "With this denial of all values, denial that a 'good life'
existed, we end our survey of Mesopotamian speculative
We believe that one of the factors which gave Israel's faith
abiding vitality when other cultures died is the factor of bal-
ance. Israel's theological thought, religious practice and social
structure were balanced in such a way that from its beginning
Ludwig Dewitz is a graduate of the Universities of London and Johns Hopkins.
This paper is the text of his Inaugural Address as Professor of Old Testament
Languages, Literature and Exegesis, delivered in the Columbia Presbyterian Church,
Decatur, Georgia, on March 18, 1964.
1 Henri Frankfort, The Intellectual Adventure of Ancient Man, Chicago 1946,
8 ibid. p. 358
at the Exodus, through all the vicissitudes of its checkered
history Israel was able to emerge ever again as a living power.
While there are a good many realms in which the factor of
balance plays an important role, we shall confine ourselves to
tracing it in three areas :
1 ) in Israel's understanding of God
2 ) in Israel's system of religious leadership
3 ) in Israel's view of individual and community
Mollat says rightly: "The name Yahweh contains all the
faith of Israel", 3 and it is precisely in the revelation of that
name that we discover this factor of balance. Here the transcen-
dence and the immanence of God appear in such a way that
both retain their distinctive values without merging into each
other. It is the imbalance between the two which makes Near
Eastern religions outside Israel so vulnerable and unstable.
While gods, men and animals are regarded as distinct from
each other, they all are so involved with the natural pattern of
things that while the gods have far more potential than both
men and animals, this is merely a matter of degree. The lines
of transcendence and immanence are blurred at best ; even the
kind of Egyptian monotheism that we have in Ekhnaton's
creed is bound to the solar disk, and the chief gods of the Meso-
potamian pantheon are intimately connected with natural phe-
nomena : Anu, the god of the sky, Enlil, the Lord of the storm,
Enki, the lord of the earth and Ninhursaga, the lady of the
mountains. Both human society and the Civitas Dei of the
Mesopotamians are subject to irresponsible and irrational
forces. This is seen in the Gilgamesh epic's tale of the Flood
where destruction is wrought at the mere whim of the god
Enlil: "For he unreasoning brought on the deluge and my
people consigned to destruction.", and where nature unleashed
endangers the gods : "The gods were frightened by the deluge,
and, shrinking back, they ascended to the heaven of Anu. The
gods cowered like dogs, crouched against the outer wall. Ishtar
cried out like a woman in travail." 4 Transcendence and im-
manence are here contingent on nature. Thus also, in Egypt as
8 quoted from A.-M. Besnard, Le Mystere du Norn, Paris 1962, p. 10.
4 Ancient Near Eastern Texts, Second Edition by James B. Pritchard, Princeton,
1955, pp. 94, 95
well as in Mesopotamia, the gods emerge out of the primordial
mass ; they are really part of nature, and do not stand aside of
creation as is the case with the god of Israel.
In the Old Testament transcendence and immanence never
merge, but balance each other perfectly. This is seen in a re-
markable way in the Exodus passages dealing with the revela-
tion of the Name of God. There are three specific places in
which prominence is given to the meaning of God's name
which, to use the nomenclature of the documentary hypothesis,
belong to the Elohist, Yahwist and priestly code respectively.
First we have Exodus 3:14 where, to his question regarding
God's name, Moses receives the answer: " 'ehyeh 3 aser 3 ehyeh
I am Who I am . . . Say to the people of Israel 3 eyeh I am
has sent me to you," and then a further statement is added "Say
to the people of Israel: Yahweh — (He is) the God of your
fathers has sent me unto you."
"I am who I am"; that is God's mysterious name, and in
ancient times a name was intimately connected with the essence
and character of a person so named. What can we say, then,
about this name "I am who I am"? Does it reveal or obscure?
Does it bring God nearer or move him farther away? Do we
encounter here the deus revelatus or the deus absconditus? Old
Testament scolars have sided with either position. Thus Grether
writes: "The tetragram identifies God as revealing Himself, as
deus revelatus. 335 Koehler, on the other hand, maintains: "I am
who I am" is a statement which withholds information —
hence, if dogmatic formulas have to be used, not deus revelatus,
but, in the strictest sense, deus abconditus. 6 Similarly Dubarlez
writes : "The name suggests the impossibility of defining God." 7
Bowman also concludes that the formula used is a "rather
meaningless phrase." 8 It is interesting in this connection that
in the Talmud, we have the same opinion offered by one of the
Jewish sages. He comments on the words "This is my name for
ever" by stating that the fully written lecolam (the Hebrew
5 O. Grether, Name und Wort Gottes im Alien Testament, 1934, p. 7
6 Ludwig Koehler, Theologie des Alten Testaments, Tuebingen 1936, p. 234, note 36
7 A. P. M. Dubarlez, La Signification du nom de Yahweh, Revenue des Sciences
Philosophiques at Theologiques, XXXIV, 1951, p. 20
8 R. A. Bowman, Yahweh the Speaker, Journal of Near Eastern Studies, 1944, p. 2
word "forever") should be read without waw and be pointed
lecallem reading: "this my name should be hidden." 9
Yet, writers are not wanting who invest these words with
much more positive meaning. If the statement does not furnish
a clue as to God's essential nature in philosophical terms as to
his aseity — it is interesting in this connection that the LXX
has a tendency that way translating "I am the Existing One"
(ego eimi ho on) — the Hebrew text certainly affirms an effec-
tive relationship of God to His people. Vriezen has rightly
stressed the point that the syntax of the sentence is important
here. 10 We have a paronomastic relative sentence of which a
number occur in the Old Testament as for instance the phrase :
"I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show
mercy on whom I will show mercy." 11 or: "But I, the Lord
will speak the word which I will speak, and it will be per-
formed." 12 ; these sentences convey with their indefiniteness
also a sense of superlative, of intensity. Thus "I am who I am"
expresses the reality of the unfathomable, yet the syntactical
arrangement of the words points to God at the same time as
"being indeed what He is!" This fact of being must be under-
stood in the dynamic sense which the Hebrew hayah "to be"
generally carries. The existence stressed here is not to be taken
in a metaphysical sense, but rather in a communicative sense :
"active being on behalf of someone"; yet this present reality
can never be gotten hold of, it can only be revealed in sovereign
action. We have, then, in the formula "I am who I am" the
deus revelatus and the deus absconditus at the same time, or,
to say it differently, both the transcendence as well as the im-
manence of God are impressed on us. The phrase is indefinite,
thus affirming the absolute liberty of God Whose being cannot
be confined in human terminology; there is no explanation as
to His essence; He remains fully the "Other"; at the same
time, "I am who I am" implies His real active presence which
is independent of our understanding of Him. We may conclude,
then, that a perfect balance is maintained by the phrase be-
tween transcendence and immanence, expressed better in the
9 Talmud, Pesachim 50a
10 Th. G. Vriezen, 'Ehje 'Aser 'Ehje, Festschrift Alfred Bertholet, Tubingen 1950,
context of the Old Testament, between "Unassailable Sov-
ereignty" and "gracious condescension."
The same truth meets us in the Yahwistic account dealing
with the name of God. 13 To Moses' request "Show me thy
glory." the answer is given: "I will make all my goodness pass
before you, and will proclaim before you my name Yahweh
("The Lord") ; and I will be gracious to whom I will be gra-
cious, and will show mercy on whom I will show mercy. But,
he said, "you cannot see my face ; for man shall not see me and
live." God's transcendence makes it impossible that He can be
seen by mortal man, yet God is accessible, not, be it noted, by
any magical manipulation of His Name, but in the revelation
of His goodness. His sovereignty remains independent of man's
attempt to lay hold of Him, yet in condescending mercy He
veils the kabod. His consuming glory, emblem of His transcen-
dence in order that His goodness should become man's experi-
ence of His presence.
In the passage ascribed to the Priestly Code dealing with
the communication of God's name we read : And God said to
Moses, "I am Yahweh ("the Lord") . I appeared to Abraham,
to Isaac, and to Jacob, as God Almighty, but by my name
Yahweh ("the Lord") I did not make myself known to
The name here is given as guarantee of the Covenant : "I
am Yahweh" heads the section dealing with the period from
the patriarchs to the Egyptian bondage, and again "I am
Yahweh" heads the section which describes the future of the
redeemed people, centering in the promise: "I will take you
for my people, and I will be your God." The statement that
it was Yahweh who was dealing with the patriarchs, even
though He was not recognized as such by them, emphasizes
something of the transcendental aspect of God's action in his-
tory; He is ever greater than human comprehension; at the
same time, God's self-revelation will break, at His will, into the
realm of history, stressing and guaranteeing its purpose of im-
manent relationship: "I am Yahweh ... I will take you for
my people and I will be your God."
18 Exodus 33:12-34:23
Concluding our study of the passages dealing with the reve-
lation of the name Yahweh we may say that in each case the
aspect of absolute sovereignty as well as condescending reality
is maintained. "I am who I am" emphasizes primarily the
other-worldly aspect of God, yet the name is given to be com-
municated to a people who should experience the redeeming
power of that unfathomable, .dynamic presence; Yahweh is
Lord of History, above it, yet in it.
"I will make all my goodness pass before you, and will pro-
claim before you my name Yahweh ("the Lord"), but you
cannot see my face, for man shall not see me and live." Here
the stress is more on immanent relationship. The nature of
God and the nature of man are as such incompatible, but the
goodness of God becomes a vehicle by which personal relation-
ship between God and man becomes a reality.
Again "I am Yahweh" in Exodus 6 shows the sovereignty
of God. The patriarchs did not know Him as Yahweh, yet now
that the revelation of His Name is given, the result will be a
people that will respond in witness and service to Him, in
other words, there will be an immanent relationship with a
transcendent God, so well expressed in the opening words of
the First Commandment : I am Yahweh, transcendence ; your
Two more things may be added.
In the context of the passage dealing with Moses' request
to see God's glory, we have a further statement regarding God's
name in Exodus 34:14: "Yahweh whose name is Jealous."
Renaud who has made a thorough study of the use of the word
"jealous" in the Old Testament points out how this term has
suffered much from the hands of its interpreters. 15 They were
influenced by a priori and too subjective concepts, according
to which the term "jealous" belonged to the primitive idea of
a terrible avenging God Whose action is aimed at punishing
sinners. They tend to overemphasize the use of the term in the
Sinaitic tradition. Others avoiding the word "jealous" prefer
to translate the Hebrew ganna or ganunoh as "zealous" de-
riving it from the Greek equivalents zelotes or zelotos wishing to
underline the positive zeal of God referring mainly to passages
15 Bernard Renaud, ]e suis un dieu jaloux, Paris 1963
in Zechariah and Joel in order to establish their position. Does
the term, then, speak of the sovereign God Who overwhelms
in shattering power or are we dealing here with the condes-
cending God Who exerts Himself to save His Own in passion-
ate love? Again it is not a matter of either — or, but of balance
between the two.
The term "jealous God" is basic to the understanding of the
Second Commandment which prohibits representation of God
by an image. The position of this commandment has been
variously assessed. In the reckoning of Philo, Josephus, the
Greek Orthodox and Reformed churches it is counted as the
Second Commandment; Augustine, the Roman Catholic and
Lutheran Churches on the other hand do not count it separ-
ately, but see it rather in close relation to the first command-
ment, really as a kind of commentary on it. Zimmerli, and I
would thoroughly agree with him, has argued very convincingly
that the prohibition to have an image of Yahweh does not lie
primarily in the idea of the spiritual versus the material, the
invisible versus the visible — but rather does it protect Yahweh's
transcendent sovereignty. It would be an undue limitation of
Himself to localize him in a fashion by which he would become
manageable by the hand and for the purposes of man. 16
Renaud rightly comments: "Yahweh is a sovereign God;
he will not allow Himself to be bound in such a manner. God
gives Himself, He does not allow Himself to be taken. Represen-
tations of the divine would represent an attempt to limit his
liberty and sovereignty . . . God is not known in Israel by
material representation, but by His Word and His saving action.
He does not say: "See how I am and you will know me", but
"See what I have done and obey me." 17
The jealousy of God, then, is a term safeguarding God's
transcendence : it exerts itself immanently in painful purifying
action when His people deny this othernesss of God by idolatry,
yet it also works on behalf of His covenant people when the
heathen mock them "Where is their God?" — as we read:
"Then the Lord became jealous for his land, and had pity on
1<J Walter Zimmerli. Das Zweite Gebot, Festschrift Albert Bertholet, Tubingen 1950,
17 Renaud, op. cit, p. 50
His people." 18 God's revelation of His name as "jealous" is a
practical expression of monotheism, a term which is intimately
connected with the Covenant. 19 Thus the qinah ("the jeal-
ousy") of Yahweh safeguards His transcendence and im-
manence in perfect balance.
While images of Yahweh are prohibited in the Decalogue,
we do know that anthropomorphisms are a definite feature of
Old Testament revelation; not only does God appear in human
form in the early narratives of the Pentateuch, but the later
prophets too are using anthropomorphic language when speak-
ing of God. Human action is freely ascribed to Him: God
speaks, hears, has eyes and hands, with his fingers he writes on
the tables of the law, his arm is stretched out, he has feet, lips
and ears, his heart recoils within him. 20 Similarly God's emo-
tions and actions are described in human terms. 21 Yet, no
human representation must be made of God. This again shows
perfect balance : God is so transcendent that no representation
of Him can be allowed, He is so immanent that His presence
must be described anthropomorphically ; in other words, God
is never so transcendent that he can ever be depersonalized into
a mere idea of God; yet He is never so immanent that man
could manage or dominate Him. Priestly magic, a common
feature in ancient near Eastern religion, is not found in the
We may fittingly close this section of our study by a quota-
tion from Hosea. This prophet states the fact of God's trans-
cendence and immanence tersely when he proclaims: "I am
God and not man, the Holy One in your midst." 22 This, by the
way, furnishes us with what I would regard as a more ade-
quate theological statement than Bishop Robinson's formula
based on Tillich in His book Honest to God describing God as
"the ground of our Being"; Hosea is more central: "The Holy
One in your midst" ; Transcendence and Immanence in perfect
Moving from the realm of theology proper to that of re-
18 Joel 2:18
19 Renaud, op. cit., p. 142
20 For a summary of relevant passages see Koehler, op. cit. p. 4
22 Hosea 11:9
ligious leaders in the Old Testament, we encounter Priests and
These two orders were seen by Wellhausen and his followers
as standing in opposition to each other, the prophets emerging
as superior, representing ethical monotheism over against per-
functory ritualism. Mowinckel, and others after him, stressing
the role of the prophets in connection with the cult 23 have
quite convincingly shown that the mere antithesis prophet
versus priest is not adequately representing the Biblical source-
material, but is more in line with philosophical suppositions of
the Hegelian school.
It is true that the prophets whose messages we have re-
corded in the books of the Bible bearing their name do oppose
the priests very definitely, but their opposition is equally di-
rected against the prophets of their time. Thirty times "priests
and prophets" are addressed together by the great Scriptural
prophets. Research into early Israelite history also bears out the
fact that we meet priests and prophets practically from the
beginning of her national history. 24 Priests are present at the
giving of the Covenant at Sinai, and the episode of the two
elders Eldad and Medad prophesying, with Moses encouraging
them saying: "Would that all the Lord's people were proph-
ets! . . ." 25 shows that indeed priesthood and prophetism were
linked intimately as vital factors in early Israelite religion.
This is not the place to sketch the historical development of the
two orders; suffice it to say that the emergence of the great
individual prophets, whose words fill so much of the Old Testa-
ment record, is, in a way, an emergency measure when the
existing priesthood and prophetic order had ceased to fulfill
their divinely given purpose aright.
The two orders are actually complementing each other,
balancing religious experience in such a way that it is relevant
to Yahweh, the Sovereign, yet condescending God of grace,
transcendent and immanent at the same time, the God of His-
tory Who has come and Who will come. It is in the tension of
23 Sigmund Mowinckel, Psalmenstudien III, Kultprophetie und Prophetische Psal-
men, Amsterdam 1961, p. 14 ff., for further literature see Otto Ploeger, Priester und
Prophet, Z. A. W., LXIII, 1951, p. 174, note 2.
24 cf. R. B. Y. Scott, The Relevance of the Prophets, New York 1953, pp. 42-43
25 Numbers 11:29
past and future revelation, i.e., the proclamation of the deus
revelatus and the deus absconditus, that the present of religious
experience receives its life and meaning in Israel. It has been
said, and not without reason, that the priests emphasized the
static element in Israelite religion, while the prophets stressed
its dynamic content. 26 Torah, Law-instruction, the teaching of
given revelation is the concern of the priest, debar Yaweh, The
Word of the Lord which comes, that of the prophet. The classi-
cal passage regarding the duties of the priest in Deuteronomy
33:8 clearly states as his central objective: They shall "teach
Jacob thy ordinances and Israel thy law". It is the constant
complaint of Hosea, Isaiah, Jeremiah and others that the
priests have failed precisely in this, engaging themselves rather
in the more lucrative realm of their sacrificial office, as Hosea
puts it so strikingly: . . . "For with you is my contention, oh
priest . . . you have forgotten the law of God . . . they feed on
the sin of my people, they are greedy for their iniquity." 27
In other words, the more sin, the more need for sacrifice,
the more tangible riches for the priest ! It was this imbalance
within the priest's appointed domain which roused the ire of the
However, ignoring the abuse of the priestly office, and focus-
sing on their positive contribution to the life of Israel, we must
state emphatically that without them that life would have been
impossible. The exposition of the Torah, the insistence on re-
lating the past to the present in the ritual of word and deed in
the cult, the affirmation of the ceremonial as well as the ethical
law — so clearly stated in Psalms 15 and 24; all these factors
keep alive in Israel the fact of the immanence, the abiding
presence of God with His people. There is a beautiful balance
in the priestly concept of God regarding His transcendence and
His immanence. The division made between that which is holy
and that which is profane gives a constant awareness that the
God of Israel is other-worldly, even though revealed in this
world. In the priestly writings there is a decided polemic against
anthropomorphic representation of God, so much so that it is
the kabod, the formless brightness of glory, or shem, the name,
the spiritual, immaterial hypostasis, by which God's presence
28 Walter Eichrodt, Theologie des Alien Testamentes, Sixth Edition, I, Stuttgart
1959, p. 292
27 Hosea 4:4,6,8
is known. The absolute sovereignty of God is further stressed
in the exclusive use af the word berit for God's covenant with
Israel while in other portions of the Old Testament the word
also has a secular application. Furthermore, the usual formula
karat berit, to make a covenant, is never used in priestly writ-
ings, it is always hebi } or natan, God establishes or grants the
covenant. The Torah, then, is the immanent personal expres-
sion of the will of the divine Sovereign ruler. Hence history is
for the priest an outworking of something given once for all ; his
point of view is special in that history is the ground for the
development of a given order. The Sabbath was ordained at
creation, the tabernacle is a replica of a heavenly pattern, the
Chronicler joins Israel's royal history to Adam. The word
'olarn referring to unlimited time is a favorite expression of the
priests; they speak of the "eternal covenant, the eternal law,
the eternal King." 28
The priests stress the objective order of things; however,
with all their particularism, stressing the ordinances of Israel,
they are aware of the fact that the God of Israel is also the Lord
of the Universe, and the Covenant with Abraham finds its place
within that made with Noah. 29 A static order of things calls for
further development rather than that there should be a verti-
cal breaking in of God into history to establish His kingdom.
Hence a true eschatology is missing in priestly theology ; if any-
thing, we have a realized eschatology, as is clear so much from
the Psalms used in public worship affirming the fact "The Lord
reigns", and that right now. 30 The Torah is the formative
principle of history.
There are still many in our days who would echo when it
comes to the priests in the Old Testament what Gunkel wrote
in his Genesis Commentary: "For personal piety P. (i.e., the
priestly writer) has no concern, he is only interested in the
objective aspect of religion." 31 Yet, this is surely an over-sim-
plification and unwarranted exaggeration. To the priest the
regular, outward observance of the cult ritual was a measurable
sign of personal devotion. After all "motivation", "attitude"
28 Genesis 9:16; Leviticus 24:8; Leviticus 3:17, 6:11; Psalm 29:10; 93:2
29 Eichrodt, op. cit. p. 278
30 Psalm 93:1, 97:1, 99:1
31 Herrmann Gunkel, Genesis, Gottingen 1910, p. 141
cannot be truly assessed — God alone knows the hypocrites by
examining the heart, but active participation in worship might
rightly be taken as an objective expression of a subjective faith.
As a matter of fact, worship ennobles man, being the vehicle
by which a Holy God creates a Holy people. The many psalms
expressing exuberant joy at the worship of the temple 32 show
that priestly functions did by no means result in cold, meaning-
Left to itself, there are very real dangers, of course, in a one-
sided priestly view of things. A theistic understanding of God
might turn into a deistic view, since his transcendence is apt to
be described in somewhat abstract terms and the division be-
tween holy and profane might be overemphasized to the extent
that God loses touch with the world; the objective stress on the
cult might result in a religion of an opus operatum where the
grace of the covenant is lost in the assumed management of it ;
thus the Torah instead of being a formative, becomes a creative
element of religion, of which post-Christian rabbinical Judaism
with its Talmud is an example.
It is in prophetism that we find a balance as well as a sup-
plement for these dangers, just as priestly theology provides us
with a regulating force against prophetic subjectivism or escha-
tological other worldliness.
While there are areas in which priestly and prophetic
activity overlap in that both give oracles and are attached to
holy places, it is the difference between the two which is the
more striking aspect of their respective offices. If, with the
priest, it is the office which sanctifies him, it is the personal call
which makes the prophet. If Albright is right that we have to
connect the Hebrew nabi with the Akkadian nabu 33 ("to call")
then the element of "call" appears even in the etymology of the
word. We have the personal call of Jeremiah and Ezekiel, both
of whom were priests to begin with. The strange story in I
Kings 13 where a prophet from Judah is drawn aside by a
prophet from Bethel to have a meal with him, and then is told
that because he accepted the invitation he had been proved
disobedient to his first call and so would die on the way back,
33 Psalms 27; 73; 84; 122 etc.
33 William F. Albright, From the Stone Age to Christianity, Second Edition, Balti-
more 1957, p. 303
well illustrates the important personal, subjective element in the
The prophet represents in a very special way the charis-
matic element in religion; he is moved to action by the Spirit.
The priest responds to human inquiry, and he finds his answers
from past revelation, or by the use of the available Urim and
Turnmim, the prophet is activated by the demand of God who
puts his dabar, his word into him. The Spirit comes and goes;
thus, 'ish elohim, the Man of God, is very conscious of his de-
pendence on God's giving alone; while the priest is more in
danger by the very office he holds to monopolize, materialize
and nationalize God.
Eichrodt is right when he stresses that, in contrast to the
priest, the prophets confronted Israel basically with the God
who was to come rather than the God Who had come. 34
Against the priest who had a tendency to limit the deus reve-
latus to the events of the Exodus and Sinai, the prophets pro-
claimed the God of the future; His overwhelming judgment as
well as salvation would make man deeply aware of the deus
absconditus before whom the total order of existing things
would break up to be replaced by a new covenant, a new heart,
a new heaven and a new earth. If the priests thought somewhat
statically and horizontally from the past, the prophets pro-
claimed a dynamic and vertical intervention. If the universalism
of the priests was more or less set as the order of existing things,
With Israel holding a special place, the prophets put the nations
and Israel under the same judgment, but also under the same
salvation : "Turn to me and be saved all the ends of the earth !" 35
For the priestly writer the history of Israel had become a fixed
terminus either with the conquest of Canaan or else with the
establishment of the Davidic dynasty in the sense that all that
followed was simply a matter of correction or reformation ; its
purpose was to conserve the given revelation. For the prophets
the past history of Israel was an incredible chain of events
which could only lead to righteous judgment, and, then, still
more incredible, but in keeping with the God of the Covenant,
to a new bond of saving relationship. It is not only man working
out the purposes of God in shaping history, but it is God's pur-
34 Eichrodt, op. cit., p. 294
35 Isaiah 45: 22
pose to come Himself into the history of Israel and the world as
Judge and Savior.
The true inspiration of the Old Testament seems to lie in the
way in which the religious experience of Israel is balanced by
the priestly and prophetic elements contributing to its spiritual,
ethical and historical existence. Israel could not live by priestly
Torah alone, nor by the prophetic dabar alone. Both were
needed for the rich experience of living as God's Covenant
people. Word and Sacrament were as vital to Israel as they
are to us today; the danger of world-ignoring apocalyptic,
which was germinally present in the prophets' eschatology, was
balanced by the priests' insistence that God had His people here
in this world, the priest's danger of objectivizing the cult into
mere performance was laid bare by the prophets' insistence
on subjective obedience. Historically, we know, that this bal-
ance was rightly appreciated by leading spirits in Israel. Ezra
was a priest who reorganized the life of Israel after the Exile,
and it was the priests who have preserved for us the words of
the prophets. Ezekiel who does thunder against the cult and
even the temple as strongly as his contemporary Jeremiah con-
summates his prophecy significantly enough not just with an
appeal to new spiritual and ethical being, but with insistence
on the central place of the temple. There is the prophetic
element in the 51st Psalm where we read:
For thou hast no delight in sacrifice ;
were I to give a burnt offering,
thou wouldst not be pleased.
The sacrifice acceptable to God is a broken spirit;
a broken and contrite heart,
O God, thou wilt not despise ;
yet the significant priestly addition has been made:
Do good to Zion in thy good pleasure ;
rebuild the walls of Jerusalem,
then wilt thou delight in right sacrifices,
in burnt offerings and whole burnt offerings ;
then bulls will be offered on thy altar.
The Old Testament establishes both earth and heaven, the
life that now is and that is to come under the sovereign will of
God. Present existence is in tension between past and future
revelation, and we might add that perhaps we, as Christians,
have to learn this afresh, lest an imbalance between the first
and second coming of Christ impoverish our life and witness.
Finally, we might consider one more area in which the
Old Testament factor of balance is worth noting, that is in the
relationship between individual and community.
The very word by which man is introduced into God's crea-
tion raises the concept of "corporate personality", to use
Wheeler Robinson's phrase. 36
"Adam" is used collectively in Genesis 1 : 26 when God says :
"Let us make Adam ("man") in our image, after our likeness,
and let them (plural) have dominion . . . ", and in the follow-
ing verse he is seen individually and collectively: "So God
created Adam ("man") ... in the image of God he created
him . . . male and female he created them"; the reverse is
true in chapter 5:2-3, where we read: "Male and female he
created them . . . and he named them ("Adam") when they
were created." These plurals are followed then by a strict in-
dividualistic use of the term: When "Adam had lived 130
years, he became the father of a son." Thus we have "Adam"
applied to man and woman, and then again to one particular
member of the male sex alone, as is the case of course, all
through chapters 2 and 3 of Genesis. In the remaining occur-
rences of the word, amounting to about 500 times, the collective
sense of mankind predominates. 37 Where an individual man is
intended the normal use is ben 3 adam as we have it in Psalm 8
and many times in Ezekiel. 38 We may conclude, then, even
from such a cursory study that individualism and collectivism
are closely related to each other, as Rowley observes so well
when he writes: "In no period of the life of Israel do we find
extreme collectivism or extreme individualism, but a combina-
tion of both." 39
36 H. Wheeler Robinson, The Religious Ideas of the Old Testament, Second Edition,
London 1956, p. 87
37 Koehler, op. cit., p. 113; cf. G. Ernest Wright, The Biblical Doctrine of Man in
Society, London 1954, p. 49
28 Psalm 8:4; Ezekiel 2:1, 3:1,4:1 etc.
39 H. H. Rowley, The Faith of Israel, Philadelphia 1957, p. 100
It has rightly been observed that Jeremiah and Ezekiel
bring the value of the individual to the fore. They face a people
who diagnose . their predicament merely as the result of col-
lectivism. "The fathers have eaten sour grapes and the child-
ren's teeth are set on edge." 40 Not so, say the prophets, each
individual carries his own responsibility: "The son shall not
suffer for the iniquity of the father, nor the father suffer for the
iniquity of the son; the righteousness of the righteous shall be
upon himself ; and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon
himself," 41 "Every one shall die for his own sin, each man who
eats sour grapes, his teeth shall be set on edge." 42 Yet, we must
not individualize religion on the basis of these statements to
such an extent as if all that mattered was the relationship of the
individual to God. These statements must be seen in their prop-
er context ; the emphasis is made, because collectivism had be-
come a total concept. The same Jeremiah who stresses indi-
vidual responsibility also knows of the results of national guilt
in which the innocent suffer as members of the community:
"Sons and daughters of the present generation shall suffer, die
and not be lamented." 43 It is the imbalance of the relationship
of the individual and society that is criticized ; when the nation
or the monarchy provide a threat to the individual so that he
might be lost in the communal system, the prophets risk the
destruction of the monarchy and the nationhood to save the
individual's responsibility within the Covenant, yet there is no
place for individual asceticism in Israel. The people who return
from the exile are still a community albeit a community of
faith, the strength of which lies in the service rendered to it by
the individual. Haggai, as well as Ezra and Nehemiah, trace
the individual's misfortune to their irresponsibility regarding
the convenant community. 44 The Covenant as exhibited in the
Ten Commandments uses the singular form throughout, bal-
ancing the collective sense referring to Israel as a whole with
its clearly individual application in the ethical section of it.
The same is true with regard to the famous passage in Deute-
ronomy, "Hear, O Israel, the Lord Our God is One Lord",
40 Jeremiah 31:29; Ezekiel 18:1
43 Jeremiah 31:30
43 Jeremiah 16:3f.
44 Haggai 1 : 2ff ; Nehemiah 2 : 1 7ff j Ezra 9 : 1 3ff .
which is followed by the more individually directed admoni-
tion: "Thou shalt love the Lord, thy God." 45 As a matter of
fact, the strange change of singular and plural forms in the
Book of Deuteronomy is very likely not due to a literary source
problem, but is to be explained simply by the interrelationship
of individual and group as understood in the concept of "cor-
This well balanced view of individual and community in
the Old Testament is also emphasized in the Book of Job
which belongs to the Wisdom literature of the Old Testament.
On the whole this kind of literature aims at general principles
to be applied to and applying among all, yet Job represents a
valid individual protest against a too rigid application of the
general principle that sin and suffering are always related to
each other. In another realm, the idea of individualism makes
itself felt, when Israel is thinking of herself too much as a single
unit of God's chosen as over the massa perditionis of the na-
tions; the Psalms especially emphasize that there is a division
individually in Israel between the sadiqim, the righteous, and
the resa'im,, the ungodly.
However, where individualism is stressed in the Old Testa-
ment, and that would apply to the charismatic leaders in par-
ticular, their activity is never used for selfish mystic contempla-
tion, a way to intimate personal relationship with God, but for
service to the community. The Israelite ideal is that all should
be prophets, and the Covenant people are called a kingdom of
Communal cult practices are individualized as when the
Old Testament speaks of the circumcision of the heart, the of-
fering of thanksgiving by the lips ; this point is so well brought
out in Psalm 141:2: "Let my prayer be counted as incense be-
fore thee, and the lifting up of my hands as an evening sacri-
fice !" We have stressed in this discussion the parts which give
prominence to the individual within the context of the Old
Testament, since the communal aspect is the more obvious one.
The individual's life derives its raison d'etre from the commu-
nity by which it is borne along, but the Old Testament never
loses sight of the fact that the individual can also have a de-
45 Deuteronomy 6 : 4-5
46 Numbers 11:29; Exodus 19:6; Joel 3: 1-2
cisive bearing on the community. Abraham's intercession for
Sodom is a case in point, 47 and more striking still the Suffering
Servant of Deutero- Isaiah. Here the covenant community,
Israel, my Servant, finds its true life in the Servant of Yahweh
who is portrayed unto us as an individual in Isaiah 53, only to
find the fruit of his individual suffering and sacrifice in the
community of the justified.
In conclusion we might say that the Old Testament's bal-
ancing of the transcendence and immanence of God, the func-
tion of priest and prophet, and the relationship of individual
and community, finds its counterpart in the New Testament in
the incarnation and resurrection of our Lord, the ministry of
word and sacrament in worship, and the concept of One Body
and many members in the life of the Church.
Charles Simeon is certainly right, when he says: "When
two opposing principles are each clearly contained in the Bible,
truth does not lie in taking what is called the golden mean, but
in steadily adopting both extremes, and, as a pendulum, oscil-
lating, but not vacillating between the two. 48
47 Genesis 18:22-23
48 A. W. Brown, Recollections of the Conversation Parties of the Rev. Charles
Simeon, 1863, p. 74
Can Catholics and Protestants
Really Talk Together?
Shirley C. Guthrie, Jr.
During the past several years, there has been a lot of talk
about a renewed "dialogue" between Protestantism and Cathol-
icism. Many representatives of both sides have been under-
standably skeptical of such talk. What can Geneva have in
common with Rome? What could possibly come of such a
"conversation" between Protestants and Catholics except (at
best) the clarification and confirmation of the irreconcilable
differences which have separated them for 400 years, or (at
worst) the compromise or surrender of what is essential to
one side or the other? How could we possibly "get together"
except on the basis of an intolerably superficial theology of the
lowest common denominator? Who could seriously hope for
the healing of the main split which for so long has broken the
Body of Christ, except those theologically illiterate "ecumani-
acs" whose only creed is the sentimental conviction that the
more we get together the happier we will be?
Some of the talk about "the dialogue" is unquestionably
irresponsible and sentimental. But it would be equally irre-
sponsible and sentimental (especially for us Reformed Protest-
ants who know that we cannot deify any past tradition, includ-
ing our own, and that the church must be semper reformanda,
always reforming) to refuse even to listen to the conversation
and to investigate its possibilities. The purpose of this article
is to show by way of a striking example, first, that it is in fact
possible for Catholics and Protestants profitably to talk together
without compromise or surrender; and second, that the new
"dialogue" does offer grounds for hope that it will not be
In 1957 Hans Kueng, a young (born in 1928) Swiss Cath-
olic theologian, now a professor at the University of Tuebingen,
published in German a book called Justification: The Teaching
The substance of this paper was delivered at an interdepartmental Graduate Semi-
nar at Emory University on April 2, 1964. Shirley Guthrie is Professor of Systematic
Theology. He has been an active participant in a series of Inter Seminary consulta-
tions dealing with Protestant-Roman Catholic relations.
of Karl Barth and a Catholic Reflection. (The English trans-
lation has been announced, but has not yet appeared.) The
first part of this work examines the doctrine of justification
(the doctrine which above all caused the split between Protes-
tantism and Catholicism) of Karl Barth (who from the first to
the last volume of his Church Dogmatics maintains a highly
critical attack on Roman Catholicism, which he calls one of
the two great modern heresies, and who as much as any past
or present Protestant thinker has taken his stand on the Bibli-
cal doctrine of justification) . The second part of Kueng's book
sets over against Barth's doctrine of justification the Catholic
doctrine as it is expressed by the ancient church fathers, con-
temporary Catholic theologians, and especially the Council of
Trent (the most vehemently anti-Protestant expression of the
Counter-Reformation) . Karl Barth and the Council of Trent!
One would have expected the most violent conflict. Indeed,
Barth has long used the council's statement on justification as
a prime example of the irreconcilable difference between Pro-
testant and Catholic theology. But Kueng comes to the astound-
ing conclusion that despite differences of emphasis and lan-
guage, there is a "basic agreement" between the teaching of
Barth on justification and the teaching of the Catholic Church
(pp. 269, 274) , and that what differences there are do not have
a church-splitting significance (4th ed., p. 366). On the other
hand, Barth, in an introductory letter at the beginning of the
book, praises Kueng for giving an accurate and complete ac-
count of his doctrine, and writes, "If what you develop in your
second part as the doctrine of the Roman Catholic Church
actually is her doctrine, then I must certainly admit that my
doctrine of justification agrees with hers" (pp. llf.) . It is not
surprising that a flood of reviews and discussions have followed
the publication of such a book. It is significant that to date
no Catholic reviewer has suggested that Kueng misrepresents
the Catholic teaching. And while there have been many Pro-
testant criticisms of Barth's theology at one point or another,
I know of none which has accused Barth of "Catholic tend-
encies" in his doctrine of justification.
Whatever may come of this conversation between Barth
and Kueng, here is a concrete example of a committed Cath-
olic theologian and a committed Protestant theologian who
can not only talk together, but discover an amazing common
ground precisely at a point where agreement could be least
expected. Such a remarkable conversation is surely worth
In the limited space available here, we shall concentrate
on the Catholic side of the conversation. That is, we will omit
Kueng's careful description and evaluation of Barth's doctrine,
and listen to his statement of the Catholic position in relation
to Barth's. First we shall summarize Kueng's general evaluation
of the difference and yet (within the difference) basic unity
between Catholic theology and Barth (whom he considers a
contemporary representative of classical Reformed Protestan-
tism) . Then we shall summarize more specifically some of the
main points Kueng makes in answering Barth's objections to the
Catholic doctrine of justification. We shall save our judgments
and questions until the end. The reader will have a much
clearer understanding of the points at issue if he has before
him the canons and decrees of the sixth session of the Council
of Trent (see P. Schaff, The Creeds of Christendom, or John
H. Leith, Creeds of the Churches).
In general, Kueng sees the problem of the relation between
Catholicism and the "radical Protestantism" of Barth in terms
of the place of God and the place of man in Christian theology.
Even more than classical Protestantism Barth is so concerned
to preserve the sovereignty and majesty and free grace of God
that he seems to lose man. And on the other hand, Barth's
criticism of Catholicism is that in its concern to give man his
proper place, it loses God. Barth repeats over and over again
in different forms the same question: Does Catholicism take
God seriously, his power, his righteousness, his grace? How can
man be given his due if the God who alone created and pre-
serves and judges and saves him is slighted? But does not
Catholic theology do just that with its natural theology, its
analogia entis, its superficial view of sin, its confidence in man's
ability to "cooperate" in his own salvation, its naturalization
of grace so that it becomes man's possession? Is not the whole
of Catholic theology finally man's attempt to master and con-
trol God, and thus both the denial of God and just for that
reason the self-destruction of the very man this theology claims
to be so interested in?
But the Catholic answer to Protestantism in general and
most especially to Barth is: How can you claim to take God
seriously if you make God everything and man nothing? Do
you not deny the very power and grace of God you want to
defend when you have so little regard for the independent
existence and goodness of the world he himself willed and
created, when you refuse to recognize the free will and ration-
ality he himself gave to man, when you refuse to let the grace
of God work not just for and over but in man, so that he him-
self actually is helped and changed?
Kueng admits that Barth's radical Protestantism does tend
to emphasize God at the cost of man, and that in reaction to the
one-sided Protestant position Barth represents, Catholic the-
ology has sometimes tended to emphasize man at the cost of
God. But he argues, and this is the main thrust of his book, that
the very thing which makes Barth stand so exclusively for the
sovereign grace of God also enables him to overcome the one-
sidedness of Protestantism : his Christology. And on the other
side, the very thing which legitimizes the Catholic insistence
on the due place of creation-nature-man enables Catholicism
to overcome its one-sidedness: Christology! In Kueng's words,
"It is all one question: the question of God and man in the
salvation event ; that is the question about God's becoming man
and about God's becoming man" (p. 267f.). Protestant the-
ology at its best is not interested abstractly in God, but con-
cretely in the God who became man in Jesus Christ. And
Catholic theology at its best is not interested abstractly in man,
but concretely in the life of the man whose origin and reality
and goal can be understood only in terms of the one man who
was God with us. A proper Christocentric theology can make
neither the "Protestant" mistake of separating God and man
in the interest of God, nor the "Catholic" mistake of confusing
or mixing up God and man in the interest of man. In Christ
God and man can be neither separated nor confused. Neither
the real existence and life of man nor the sovereign grace of
God can be slighted. With a proper Christological foundation,
why cannot man and God, reason and faith, analogia entis and
analogia fidei, being and history, be at once included and prop-
Kueng argues that both sides are included and properly
relates both in Barth as in Catholic theology. He tends to
believe that both sides are more easily included and better
stated in a Catholic framework, and that Catholicism at its
best has never officially excluded the Protestant emphasis —
not even at Trent. He thinks that Barth has terribly misunder-
stood Catholicism even as he has in fact included what Ca-
tholicism insists upon, and that as a consequence he still tends
to over-emphasize the Protestant side. But the main difference
between Barthian and Catholic theology is nevertheless one
of emphasis and terminology, not of basic content. They do not
finally say something different, but the same thing in different
ways. Kueng knows that all problems are by no means solved
by saying that both Catholicism and Protestantism can find
common ground in a theology built on the Christ who is at
once true God and true man. But he does think this common
ground furnishes the basis for real discussion instead of the
direct opposition or simply speaking past one another which
has been typical of past Protestant-Catholic discussions.
Now how does this general statement of the relation be-
tween Catholic theology and Barth's Protestant theology look
when it is expressed specifically in terms of the doctrine of
justification? Barth, with traditional Protestantism, puts this
question to the Catholic side: Does the Catholic doctrine of
jusification take justification seriously as the gracious sovereign
act of God? Or does it not in the last analysis only talk in one
way or another about the achievement of man? And Kueng,
with traditional Catholicism, puts this question to Barth : Does
Barth's doctrine of justification really take seriously the fact
that man is justified? Or does he not say in the last analysis
that justification is only an empty "forensic" word of God, and
that man himself is not really involved and really touched and
helped? These are the same questions which have been asked
for 400 years : Does Catholicism take God seriously, and does
Protestantism take man seriously?
As noted above, we must omit Kung's defence of Barth
here. After carefully examining Barth's doctrine of justifica-
tion, along with its presuppositions and consequences, in terms
of all the strongest suspicions of Catholic theology, he con-
cludes that Barth (more clearly than traditional Protestantism)
does indeed properly include man. For Barth justification is
not an empty "as if" which does not really touch sinful men.
In Christ God's justifying word is also a powerful justifying
action which in fact renews and gives life to the man who was
dead in sin but now is alive to righteousness. Barth does not
(as also some Protestant critics have argued) make God every-
thing and man nothing; precisely the justifying work which
God alone accomplishes sets man on his feet so that he can
and does freely, actively do "good works."
Our main concern here, however, is with Kueng's answer
to Barth's question: Does the Roman Catholic doctrine of
justification take justification seriously as the gracious sovereign
act of God? Yes, argues Kueng, although he admits that this
"yes" has not always been equally clear, especially when, as
in the Council of Trent, one-sided statements have been given
in reaction to one-sided Protestantism. Kueng defends Catholic
doctrine at this point from several different points of view. His
procedure in each case is first to listen to the word of scripture
with a careful exegesis, and then to examine the authoritative
documents of the Church, depending especially on Trent, as
well as the theology of the fathers and contemporary Catholic
thinkers. (Note: Catholic Kueng places scripture before tradi-
tion and church in good "Protestant" procedure ! ) In the fol-
lowing pages we shall look at Kueng's answer to some of the
various forms of Barth's one basic question, whether the
Catholic doctrine of justification takes seriously the free, sov-
ereign grace of God.
1. Does Catholic doctrine take with complete seriousness
the total sinfulness and helplessness of man, and therefore the
total dependence of man on God for justification? According
to Trent itself (chapter I), man is "the servant of sin, and
under the power of the devil and of death." Sin is thus much
more than the "loss of a decorative accident or a white cloak
of grace." It is an attack on the substance and heart of man.
Sinful man still exists as man, but he is totally unable to do
anything toward self -justification (Canon I). Protestants will
want to test how seriously this is meant by asking the question :
Is the sinner free or unfree? Kueng answers that we must define
the meaning of freedom. In the New Testament freedom never
means simply freedom of choice, but "freedom of the children
of God." According to the Bible and the Catholic Church,
also the sinner has freedom of choice, but this does not mean
that he is free in a theological sense. If the power of choice is
exercised with grace, it is free power of choice. If it is against
or without grace, it is unfree power of choice. Real freedom is
given to the sinner only with the grace of Christ. This is essen-
tially the way Barth and classical Protestantism also deal with
the problem of "free will." But do not Catholics believe that
man is only "partly" sinful so that at least a "part" of him can
cooperate in self -justifying, saving works? Kueng answers (and
both rationalistic and pietistic Protestants would do well to
learn from him!) : the whole man is sinful, senses and under-
standing (reason) and will and "heart," body and soul — the
total person. Consequently, Kueng insists, Catholics do take seri-
ously the sinfulness of man, his inability to do anything toward
justifying himself, and therefore his total dependence on the
grace of God.
2. When Catholics speak of grace, do they really speak
of God, or are they really speaking only of man who "has"
grace? Does grace not refer to a human state of grace rather
than to God's work of grace, to gifts of grace which man con-
trols rather than to the favor of God which controls man? Is
grace not made something physical rather than recognized as
something personal? Again Kueng bases his answer first of all
on exegesis, and answers: On the contrary, although the-
ologically-systematically and practically-pastorally it has not
always been remembered, Catholic theology has always known
that grace is personal not physical, a being and doing of God
himself. It is not a third thing between God and man, but
God himself in action. It is never a matter of my having grace,
but of his being gracious. In grace I do not have God ; he has
On the other hand, this also has to be said : Grace as the
favor of God does not go into a vacuum. It is not powerless
but powerful in relation to the sinner. Grace accomplishes
something in man. It changes him inwardly. God gives man
participation in his own life and work. God himself takes pos-
session of man and dwells within him. This is all the Catholic
Church meant to say with the distinction between gratia creata
and gratia increata which so horrifies Barth (cf. CD. IV/1, pp.
84f f . ) . Not that there is a second kind of grace, not that grace
is first of all the gracious action of God, but then secondly
"something" which becomes man's independent possession, but
simply that God's personal favour actually accomplishes some-
thing with and in man. The one grace of God has these two
moments or aspects — the objective and the subjective. Al-
though Barth misunderstands the Catholic theology and its
intent, he says exactly the same thing — that grace is the work
of God alone (gratia increata in Catholic language), but also
that God's gracious action really reaches man (gratia creata
in Catholic language) .
3. When Catholics speak of justification, do they not so
emphasize the man who is justified and his righteousness that
they forget to speak of justification as God's act? Is not every-
thing reversed so that man really begins and completes justi-
fication for himself?
The Protestant-Catholic debate on justification has clas-
sically been stated in terms of the distinction between Gerecht-
sprechung and Gere chtmac hung. Protestants have insisted that
it is a Gerechtsprechung — a declaration or "forensic" procla-
mation of God. It is not a recognition that man is in fact
righteous, nor even the creating or fulfilling of righteousness
in him; it is purely the verbal act of God in relation not to a
potentially or actually righteous man, but in relation to sinful
man. This obviously stresses the fact that justification is a pure
act of God's grace. Catholics have emphasized that justification
is a Gerechtmachung — a making righteous, in which man is
not just declared to be righteous in God's sight, but actually
becomes righteous. On the basis first of Biblical exegesis and
then with an analysis of Catholic doctrine, Kung argues that
this is a false alternative. According to scripture, justification
undoubtedly means first of all a judgment of God, a verbal
decision about man who is in fact not righteous but unrighteous.
It is precisely the unrighteous man who is justified. God deals
with us as if we had not sinned. Despite our sin God declares
the sinner to be righteous. But the other thing must be said:
If it is God who declares a man righteous, this declaration can-
not be just an empty word. It does what it says, accomplishes
what it declares. When God speaks, it is done: the sinner
actually is renewed, made righteous, really and truly, outwardly
and inwardly, fully and completely. What was not so before
he spoke his justifying word, now is so.
Catholics have not always seen the objective side of jus-
tification as clearly as the subjective side — especially when as
at Trent they over-emphasized the subjective in opposition to
the Lutheran over- emphasis on the objective. But even Trent
presupposes the forensic-theocentric aspect. It only denies that
men are justified solely by imputation or remission (Canon
XI), and insists that "we are not only reputed, but are truly
called and are just, receiving justice within us (chap. 7). If
the first aspect is not made as clear as the second, it must be
remembered that Trent is not intended to be a full statement
of the doctrine of jusification, but only a polemic against the
one-sided Protestant interpretation. As Cardinal Newman wrote
about the resulting one-sidedness of Trent : "... when the Ro-
man schools are treating of one point of theology, they are not
treating of other points. When the Council of Trent is treating
of man, it is not treating of God. Its enunciations are isolated
and defective, taken one by one, of course" (quoted in Kueng,
Kueng asserts that Barth has corrected the one-sided Pro-
testant idea that justification is only an empty forensic "as if"
which actually changes nothing in man's situation. And now
we see how Kueng clarifies (not "corrects"!) the one-sided
Catholic emphasis in the other direction. His conclusion con-
cerning the doctrine which triggered the Reformation and has
split the Church ever since: "The Protestants speak of Gere-
chtsprechung and Catholics of Gerechtmachung. But the Prot-
estants speak of Gerechtsprechung which includes Gerechtma-
chung, and the Catholics of Gerechtmachung which presup-
poses Gerechtsprechung. Is it not time to stop polemically
speaking past one another?" (218).
4. When does justification happen? In the objective event
of Christ's death and resurrection, or in the subjective event
of man's coming to faith in Christ? Do not the Catholics (in
common with Protestant pietism ! ) also from this point of view
emphasize the subjective at the expense of the objective? Kueng
discovers here the same basic distinction and unity in Prot-
estant and Catholic views we have already mentioned, but it is
important to mention the question in this form, because it
raises a problem of terminology which he believes has unneces-
sarily set us against each other.
Scripture says both : It is in Christ that justification hap-
pened, yet only he who believes is justified. Objective event
and subjective realization. And both Catholic and Protestants
say both things, but with different words so that they have not
undersood each other. Barth (with classical Protestantism)
uses "justification" to speak of the objective event — God acts
for us, apart from us, in Christ. But when Trent (and Cathol-
icism following Trent) uses the word "justification," it thinks
of the subjective side — man's realization of justification in
faith. Barth too knows of this inner justification, but he uses
"sanctification" to speak of it. And Trent too knows about
and presupposes the objective side, but it uses "redemption"
or "salvation" to speak of it (cf., chap. II) :
objective justification redemption
subjective sanctification justification
So Barth inevitably misunderstands Trent, accusing Catholi-
cism of confusing justification and sanctification. Instead of
comparing his "justification" with Trent's "redemption," he
compares his objective factor with Trent's subjective factor.
If only he had read the little chaper II of Trent carefully, he
would have understood that Trent explicitly affirms what he
(with traditional Protestantism) wants to hear: in Christ God
has done everything for sinful men who could do nothing for
Both Barth and Catholicism know that there is one act of
God's grace which can only be seen from two sides : active and
passive, origin and fulfillment, what God does and what man
receives, event and its result. Protestants and Catholics have
not understood each other's language, and they have in fact
over-emphasized one side against the other. But once again:
why should we continue this unnecessary opposition?
5. But what about Trent's notorious statements about
man's "cooperation" in justification? Do they not expose
Catholicism's failure to see that justification and redemption
are God's work alone?
Kueng argues again that once the difficulty in terminology
is straightened out, this problem automatically takes care of
itself. Trent does not speak of man's cooperation when it thinks
of God's objective act of salvation (chap. II), but only when
it speaks of the subjective side. It also knows and explicitly
says that man is totally incapable of any self-justification
(Canon I) . What it intends to say with its insistence on man's
cooperation is only that when God justifies a man, he makes
man alive to become the partner or fellow- worker (a good
Pauline concept ! ) of the covenant-making God — a partner
who personally and responsibly and actively says "yes" to God
in response to God's "yes" to him. The Tridentine cooperari
is no synergism which claims that justification is partly from
God and partly from man. Everything comes from God, includ-
ing man's cooperation. But from God's Alleswirksamkeit (all-
working) does not follow his Alleinwirksamkeit (alone-work-
ing) ; rather the result precisely of his Alleswirksamkeit is man's
Mitwirksamkeit (with-working) (p. 258). Man's cooperation
is not even partly the cause of what Protestants mean when
they speak of justification, but man's cooperation does follow
justification and is a real consequence of it. How can Barth
object to this kind of cooperation? It is nothing different from
what he himself says is inevitably the subjective concomitant of
God's objective work in Christ — although he calls it "sancti-
fication" or "calling."
But this raises again the problem of the relation between
justification and sanctification — and still another misunder-
standing of terminology. "Sanctification" is an ambiguous
term. Catholics understand it to mean the objective-ontic
"holiness" (Heiligkeit) worked by God in man. Protestants un-
derstand it to be the subjective-ethical sanctification (Heili-
gung) realized by man (through God's grace, of course) . Both
interpretations are correct (i.e., Biblical) if one understands
the distinction in their unity. In so far as justification is through
faith alone, and not the works of man, it is not the same as
sanctification in the subjective-ethical sense. In this sense sanc-
tification follows justification. But in so far as justification
actually makes a man righteous or holy, it is the same thing as
sanctification in the sense of an objective-ontic work of God.
Otherwise God's justification would only be an empty word.
Again, because Protestants and Catholics have used the
same word in a different sense, they have spoken past each
other when they really intended to say the same thing! The
righteousness or holiness given through the justification of God
is the necessary foundation for the ethical sanctification of a
man, and vice versa, sanctification is the becoming active and
fulfillment of the holiness given by justification. Human sanc-
tification is the goal and result of God-given holiness. And God-
given holiness is the ground of human sanctification. This is
how Barth explains the relation between justification and sanc-
tification, and it is also exactly how Trent explains the "fruit
of justification" in chapter XVI.
6. But there is one more question: Do not Catholics
forget that the justified man is still a sinner? Even if it is ad-
mitted that before he "receives the grace of justification" he is
totally helpless and sinful in himself, do not Catholics prac-
tically believe that after he receives it, he becomes more or less
self-sufficient? In other words, what about the Reformation
slogan semper Justus et peccator?
Kueng believes, as we have seen, that we must say that the
justified man is really righteous, also inwardly, in his heart.
Justification is not an empty "as if." But "no Catholic can
deny the semper Justus et peccator when it is rightly under-
stood" (p. 232). The Roman mass is the clearest expression
that this is a part of Catholic theology, for in the mass both
priest and people confess their sin. But how is this to be ex-
plained? Two lines of thought, which may also be found in
Trent, explain that and how a man may be at once truly and
really "just" and yet still a sinner — and, argues Kueng, they
are basically two lines of thought which Barth also follows.
(a) Justification is a history, not a static state. The justi-
fied man is always in via. At any given moment he is still the
man he was as well as the man he is destined to be in Christ.
What he is can only be defined in terms both of his past and his
future. "Having been justified . . . they are renewed day by day"
(Trent, chap. X) . Every day the justified man moves from his
sinful past to his future righteousness in Christ.
(b) Everything the justified man has, he has as the fruit
of grace, so that in terms of its origin any righteousness he dis-
plays is a righteousness "foreign" to him. It comes to him from
above, outside himself, and in this sense is not his own.
But to press the point a little further : In what sense is this
"both-and" to be understood? Totus (totally) righteous and
totus sinful, or partim (partly) righteous and partim sinful?
For protestants everything depends on whether the "both-and"
means totus-totus and not partim- partim. Although Kueng
speaks postively of Barth's interpretation in the former sense,
he is strangely silent about this alternative when he comes to the
Catholic position. He says that also the justified man is "cap-
able" of sin, remains on the "dangerous boundary-line" of sin,
has a "continuing tendency" to sin. But is not the sinfulness of
the justified man more serious than that? Kueng does not say.
Nevertheless, he does defend the semper Justus et peccator as
such, and asserts that Catholics generally may affirm what
Luther wanted to say with this phrase — that the state of justi-
fication is a status viatoris (state of "being on the way"), and
that the righteousness it brings always remains a given right-
We have obviously been able here only to suggest the main
thrust of Kueng's argument for the "basic agreement" between
the Catholic and Barth teaching on justification. He builds his
case in a much more convincing way that can be summarized
in a few pages. His Biblical exegesis is careful and compre-
hensive. His knowledge of Barth is precise (how many of us
Prostestants can speak competently, from first-hand knowledge,
of Catholic theology?). The number of citations of relevant
passages from past and present Catholic literature is stagger-
ing, and the support he is able to muster from this literature
impressive. His conclusion is not cheaply won. And anyone who
has read Barth's repeated indictment of Catholicism will know
that his approval is certainly not cheaply given.
Why this astonishing agreement on both sides? Both Barth
(in his introductory letter) and Kueng insist that it is not be-
cause Barth has become a crypto-Catholic or Kueng a crypto-
Protestant (though Barth does wonder why Kueng's interpre-
tation of the Catholic position has so long remained hidden
both within and without Catholicism, and comments that he
would like to whisper in Kueng's ear the question whether he
himself discovered all he says about the Catholic doctrine of
justification before or during or perhaps after he read the
Church Dogmatics!). Kueng's fundamental explanation, to
which Barth also refers, is that each of them has looked at his
own tradition and the other's tradition in the common mirror
of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It is because of this that Barth
can write to Kueng: "We are separated in faith, namely in the
same faith, because and in that we may believe in the same
What conclusions can we draw from this "dialogue" be-
tween Kueng and Barth? Obviously not that all questions have
now been answered which Catholics and Protestants have to
ask each other — not even with regard to the single doctrine
we have considered. Neither Kueng nor Barth makes such a
wild claim. Both of them point out the hard work still to be done
at this point — not to mention the whole complex of difficult
problems grouped around the doctrines of Church and sacra-
ments. It seems to me, however, that this paricular conversation
at the very least teaches us three important things which can
be of great help as we follow, try to evaluate, and perhaps parti-
cipate in, the broader "dialogue" between Catholics and Pro-
testants which will certainly be continued and expanded in the
years to come: (1) A genuine conversation is possible and
fruitful between Catholics and Protestants just when the two
sides do not begin with a tolerant search for the lowest common
denominator, but rather when each without compromise and
with careful theological discipline takes seriously its own tra-
dition, and on that basis listens to and even lets itself be cor-
rected by the other. ( 2 ) A genuine conversation is possible and
fruitful when both Catholics and Protestants give themselves
to the common task of exegesis of their common Bible. (There
is evidence that more careful exegetical work than ever before
is being done on the Catholic side. If we Protestants are going
to be qualified to talk with Biblically informed Catholics, we
had better be sure that we are armed not just with strong con-
victions about the Bible, but with a thorough familiarity with
what is written in the Bible!) (3) A genuine conversation is
possible and fruitful when each side discovers that in its own
tradition theology and anthropology, anthropology and theo-
logy, meet and each receives its due in the God-man Jesus
Christ. To say that the Bible offers the common ground for
a meaningful dialogue is to say that Christology is the ground
where the questions will be asked and the answers given which
could bring Catholics and Protestants together in "one holy
catholic apostolic Church."
How, then, shall we greet the much-advertised Protestant-
Catholic dialogue? When these three conditions are fulfilled,
we can greet it as Barth says he greets Kueng's book : like Noah
looking out the window of his ark, finding a clear symptom
that the flood of the times when Catholic and Protestant theo-
logians either spoke only polemically against each other, or
with an irresponsible pacifism did not speak to each other at
all, is not past but at least is subsiding. Carrying the analogy
a little further: it would be foolish for us naively to rush out
of our ark as if the danger outside were past. But it would be
faithless for us not to look out the window for signs that the
flood is sinking. We can at least keep the window open, and be
ready and willing to send out the dove — even at the risk of
doing so several times prematurely, before the time is ripe.
Otherwise we may find that our safe ark has become stuffy and
dark — and smelly.
Moral Values In Society
Thomas H. McDill
In a society which is democratically structured, moral
values are of prime significance. In a totalitarian structure,
such values may well reside in designated authorities with
means of enforcement. In the democratic society a legal struc-
ture will exist which will set limits on the exercise of the free-
dom of individuals. At the same time, within the legal limits,
there exists a freedom which makes the question implied by
our subject of significance to us. To exist, such a society rests
upon the presupposition that there is the possibility of internal
control by individuals within the social structure.
In American culture in particular, there has been a tend-
ency toward extremes. The freedom created by the broad limits
of the legal structure gives the individual citizen the right of
decision with consequent risks. This is anxiety producing. To
handle this anxiety, there has been a tendency toward con-
formism, each individual feeling secure by conforming to the
manners and customs of his group. This is a subtle imposition of
a rigidly legal structure on behavior in addition to the broad
legal structure of the society.
On the other hand, the opposite swing of the pendulum
involves a kind of rebellion or licentiousness. In this group we
discover the anti-social persons, the delinquents, the criminals.
Significantly, in such groups as this, we concern ourselves
too much with the anti-social group, but fail to recognize that
those who are the conformists and are imposing a secret legal
structure upon themselves, are simply at the opposite swing
of the pendulum and are in the same psychological condition.
David Riesman has written quite well to this point. 1 He
speaks of people as being tradition- directed, inner-directed, or
other-directed. The tradition-directed people are those whose
social character is formed in societies not anticipating severe
This address was recently delivered at the Annual Meeting of the Georgia Mental
Health Association. Thomas H. McDill, apart from his work as Professor of Pastoral
Theology and Counseling, has exercised a creative role within the life of the com-
munity in relation to the needs of alcoholics and other emotionally disturbed people.
1 David Riesman, et ah, The Lonely Crowd. (New Haven: Yale University Press,
changes in populations or technology. Each generation as-
sumes that the following generation will live much as it lives.
However, in a rapidly expanding society, inner-direction ap-
pears to be the answer. Tradition still helps, but the important
thing is for the elders to implant in their children a sense of
direction toward life's goals. The growing child cannot be
guided every step of the way by his parents, but it is the direc-
tion that counts; and the parents can give the child a kind of
gyroscope that will serve to maintain balance and direction in
every situation. Other-direction is now increasingly dominant.
Instead of a gyroscope, the other-directed person has a radar-
scope. Rather than having this set toward a goal, the other-
directed man is not told where to go or how to get there except
as he may receive "signals" from "the others." "The others"
are usually "other-directeds" without fixed goals also.
As Riesman puts it: "What is common to all other-
directeds is that their contemporaries are the source of direc-
tion for the individual — either those known to him or with
whom he is indirectly acquainted, through friends and through
the mass media. This source is, of course, 'internalized' in the
sense that dependence on it for guidance in life is implanted
early. The goals toward which the other-directed persons strive
shifts with that guidance : it is only the process of striving itself
and the process of paying close attention to signals from others
that remain unaltered through life."
"Other-directed" youngsters go to school to learn the pro-
cess of living together in this society. They are classified, cate-
gorized, graded and seated not according to what they can
accomplish nor according to aptitudes, but in accordance with
their ability to cooperate. And with what are they to cooperate?
Cooperation! "The children are supposed to learn democracy
by underplaying the skills of intellect and overplaying the skills
of gregariousness and amiability — skill democracy, in fact,
based on ability to do something, tends to survive only in
In regard to these subtle structures that are imposed upon
individuals, so difficult to deal with because of their subtlety,
how is the individual to find freedom that will enable him to
make ethical decisions and to live in a non-destructive fashion?
It is my own opinion that we will never get to the heart of this
unless we can begin to understand the conscience. It is my in-
tention now to point to some significant factors involved in a
conscience, which is a necessary aspect of the personality in-
volved in socialization, and trust that further understanding
will enable us to work together for a better society.
First of all, we look at psychological treatments. The first
meaning given in modern psychology of conscience was that
conscience is a simple, social introjection, that is, the infant
takes for granted the things the people around him take for
granted. The child, as he grows, absorbs the ideas of right and
wrong, just as he absorbs a particular language. The social
morals then become the individual's morals. 2
This is the foundation of society. According to Freud, if
there were no conscience socialization would be impossible. 3
Flexibility arising out of prolonged infancy makes socialization
a possibility. That is, if it were not for the flexibility of the
human being which is contingent upon the length of infancy,
the surrounding culture would not have the influence on the
child it does, because patterns of living would be formed too
quickly, as in the case of the lower animals. 4
With this kind of approach, we would say that conscience
is an unlearned capacity, i.e., a person is born with the capacity
for a conscience, but the conscience is unformed. Returning to
the language analogy, a baby will first babble. We raise the
question, "What would happen if babies did not first babble?"
The answer growing out of research is that a baby that cannot
first babble cannot learn to speak. What happens is that the
baby first babbles and the pattern of speech is built into that
2 For fuller development of the social introjection theory, the following may be
helpful: Gordon W. Allport, Becoming. (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1955),
Ch. 16, "Conscience". Gordon W. Allport, Pattern and Growth in Personality.
(N.Y.: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, Inc., 1961), pp 134 ff., 303 f. Seward Hilt-
ner, Self-Understanding. (N.Y.: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1951), Ch. VI, "Knotty
Conscience". Gardner Murphy, Personality. (N.Y. : Harper and Bros., 1947), pp.
3 Sigmund Freud, The Ego and the Id. (London: Hogarth Press, 1949), Joan
Riviere, tran., Ch. Ill, "The Ego and the Super-Ego (Ego-Ideal)".
* For a full discussion and treatment of this necessary flexibility in human beings
see the work of Lawrence K. Frank, Nature and Human Nature. (New Brunswick,
New Jersey: Rutgers University Press, 1951), esp. Ch. Ill, "The Internal Environ-
babble. After the child learns to make certain noises, associa-
tion of meaning begins from hearing parents and others speak. 5
Conscience is similar. Conscience is an unlearned capacity
patterned by society. This is a general development in the life
of any child. We would say psychologically that there is nothing
wrong with this type of process and it does not need to warp
How the demands are placed on the child are usually more
important than what demands are placed on the child. For a
good illustration of the way this internalizing process takes
place, note the illustration in Gordon W. Airport's book,
Becoming 6 . "Turning to the three year old we may see more
clearly the role of parental identification in the struggle to
internalize the voice of conscience. I am indebted for this
example to my colleague, Henry A. Murray. A three-year-old
boy awoke at 6 : 00 in the morning and started his noisy play.
The father, sleepy-eyed, went to the boy's room and sternly
commanded him 'Get back into bed and don't you dare get up
until 7 :00 o'clock.' The boy obeyed. For a few minutes all was
quiet, but soon there were strange sounds which led the father
to look into the room. The boy was in bed as ordered, but
putting an arm over the edge, he jerked it back in saying, £ Get
back in there'. Next a leg protruded, only to be retracted, with
the warning, 'You heard what I told you.' Finally the boy rolled
to the very edge of the bed and then roughly rolled back, sternly
warning himself, 'Not until 7:00!' We could not wish for a
clearer instance of interiorizing the father's role as a means of
self control and socialized becoming." That is to say, the father
actually becomes a part of the emotional core of the child.
The cardinal thing in regard to Airport's treatment is the
question of whether or not the demands made upon the child
were made in such a way that they have to break the child's
spirit in order to make the child do what the parents think
For example, a mother feels the responsibility of getting
her child to bathe himself. If we could observe two different
procedures, we might see the difference. One we could call
"Arnold Gesell, et al., The First Five Years of Life. (N.Y.: Harper and Bros.,
6 Op. cit } p. 70.
the causal method of instructing the child. The mother is bath-
ing the little boy and realizes he has sufficient control of body
movements to begin bathing himself. She therefore with
motherly smile encourages him to take the soap and the wash-
cloth and wash his hands. She praises him although he does
a rather poor job of it, offering considerable encouragement to
him to proceed. We then step into a neighbor's home with a
boy of the same age. The mother in the second home is aware
of the fact that according to the book it is time for her boy to
be bathing himself. She abruptly spaks to the child after lower-
ing him into the bath water, "Do it yourself." With that she
walks off and leaves him. He cries, but her only response would
be to continue to order him to bathe himself until he obeyed.
With both of these methods you can achieve the same result
with your children, i.e., the children will learn to bathe them-
selves. The authoritarian way will probably produce quicker
results, but what a difference there will be internally, because
the conscience, developed through the process of introjection,
is completely different in the two children. In the first instance,
the idea of cleanliness is being instilled in the child as a matter
of selfhood and achievement, therefore the personality will not
be warped. In the second instance, the child has been made to
comply, the spirit is in the process of being broken, making him
morbidly dependent upon the will and orders of others, result-
ing in his spending his life trying to escape freedom, seeking
an authoritarian structure. The entire conscience phenomenon
is affected by these two types of treatment.
This is the psychological treatment in general. We need to
be more specific with certain individual treatments, Freud,
for example, had developed his concept of the super-ego by the
1920's. 7 In speaking of the super-ego, he did not speak of simple
introjection in the way that Allport does. He held that the
assimilation of conscience involves compliance initially, but
the conscience or super-ego is really a pushing down of the ego,
super-ego meaning over-I, and we get the picture of the over-I
pushing down, forcing the ego into submission. He saw the
process of super-ego formation as an initial fragmentation of
what the child wants to do and what he has to do. And yet he
7 James Strochy (ed.), The Standard Edition of the Complete Works of Sigmund
Freud. 24 Volumes. (London: Hogarth and the Institute of Psycho-analysis, 1953),
does not know whether he is fulfilling himself or not. The super-
ego is largely unconscious and is the primary agent of the psyche
which is operating in repression. By repressing in accordance
with the demands of authorities in the same way he represses
the instinctual impulses, sex and aggression, all of this becomes
inaccessible to the conscious mind. In this way, the conscience
Franz Alexander, 8 who follows in the Freudian stream of
thought, would say something like this: The super-ego is not
completely against the instinctual energies, as Freud believed.
Far from being what it appears, there is a secret alliance be-
tween the super-ego and the id. A kind of legalism goes on
similar to a court transaction. We can imagine, in mythological
terms, the Super-ego as a great authoritarian boss, saying to
the Ego, "That's wrong, don't do that!" The Ego experiences
this as anxiety, Ego responds, "Well, since you say so, and make
me anxious, I'll comply. I won't do it." The Ego now feels at
ease. Suddenly Id speaks up, "Do it anyway because you'll have
lots of fun." Then the Super-ego speaks to the Id, "I'm tired of
arguing with you, and I'm going to let you come out, but you've
got to come out the back door." Then he speaks to Ego, "you
are going to get punished on account of Id." So the instinctive
impulses sneak out the back door in all kinds of bizarre ways.
Here's a woman, for example, who would never give way to
her sexual desires in licentious behaviour but nevertheless she
takes great delight in what she calls smutty jokes, thus gaining
sexual satisfaction by words instead of action. Consider one
of our students who believes that it is not good for a Christian
to blacken his brother's eye or break his brother's nose in a
fight, but he'd not hesitate, for example, to short sheet him,
or to play other practical jokes on him, including throwing
water at him in a paper bag. Id gets out the back door. This
is the compromise formation which determines much of our
silly and childlike behaviour.
In all of this treatment of conscience we begin to see
something about the paradox of opposites. This is an actual
example. An unmarried woman 55 or 60 years of age, was
meticulously clean. According to the report, you could not find
8 Franz Alexander, Psychoanalysis of the Total Personality. Bernard Glueck and
Bertram D. Lewin, trans. (N.Y.: Mental Disease Publishing Co., 1930).
dust on anything, and everything was always in order. She
would feel extremely uncomfortable because of the compulsive
nature of this, if anything was dirty or our of order. When she
saw things out of place, she went to work immediately to get
them back in order, stacked them up, put them away. Children
often went to see this woman because she gained ego satisfac-
tion by getting children to like her. In this way she was very
much like "Grandma" of comic strip fame, i.e., her ego satis-
factions were met by her demands upon the children that they
like her by giving them cookies and cake all the time, by acting
very much like them when they were with her. Nevertheless,
when the children would leave, she would go to work immedi-
ately to get up every speck of dust, and to put up everything
that was out of order by their play. The children going by her
home one day noticed that instead of things being in order
they were in greater disarray than they could ever have im-
agined. Clothes were scattered on the floor, the floor had not
been swept. It frightened them, and alarmed, they ran home
and told their parents. Their parents went to see the woman.
She was unkept and dirty herself, her hair was uncombed.
What this is saying is that there was a connection between
the disorderliness and the neatness all along. These are op-
posites only in appearance and they are positively related in the
psyche, which is to say that legalism and antinomianism, con-
formism and rebellion, and the stringent and authoritarian
control of the self and others and licentious behaviour, sexual
impotence and sexual license are all symptomatic of the same
psychic condition. It is a matter of making a choice in the
psyche as to which direction will be taken.
To state this in a different way, this is like saying that one
can become either vegetable or animal, the whole matter boils
down to having an unintegrated, legalistic conscience. The
neatness of the woman referred to was not for neatness sake,
but out of a sense of obligation and necessity which does not
constitute an adequate reason for neatness. If at any point a
person with this kind of legalistic conscience realized that the
former way of keeping everything in absolute order is not going
to be a satisfactory way, they may appear to be moving to the
opposite kind of behavior; but the difficulty is that there is
lack of proper reason for behavior in the first place. The com-
pulsive neatness was the internalized parental voice which had
been so completely interiorized within herself that mother and
father were still giving the orders within her own emotional
core. Just as a growing child in an authoritarian family struc-
ture has the choice of either conforming and letting his spirit
be broken or becoming delinquent, so does the individual in
response to the internalized demands of the conscience have
this same choice: either to conform to this conscience or to
become delinquent. The woman conformed as long as she
could, and then she became delinquent. The same conscience
was operating in both conditions.
The questions that have led to this conclusion came from
adult patients, i.e., the business man who longed for a vaca-
tion, but with an opportunity to take one, he begins to chew his
fingernails and wish he were back in the office. Or the minister
who longs for a vacation, but as soon as he gets away, he goes
to work preparing a lot of sermons, accepting a lot of speaking
engagements, and spending his entire time as actively as he did
in his pastorate. Or the teacher who makes excessive assign-
ments upon his students because he makes excessive assignments
upon himself. We understand this as the super-ego making
demands upon us. Therefore, we make demands of the same
order upon other people.
This also serves a self-protective function. If I condemn
myself before you can condemn me, then I have saved myself
from your condemnation. If I can punish myself before you
punish me, then I have saved myself from your punishment
and satisfied the demands of conscience.
Children react not so much to the parent's ego as they do
to the parent's super-ego. Imagine a young child just tucked
in for the night. The first time he calls is because he forgot
to go to the bathroom before going to bed. The next time he
calls he wants a drink of water. When he gets the drink, he
fusses because it happens to be bathroom water instead of
kitchen water. After the parents, who have been trying to carry
on a serious conversation in the front room of the home, have
met the child's demands for so long, a reaction is certain.
The child is severely threatened, "You lie down and keep
quiet and go to sleep or we'll turn out the light." When the
child hears this, he suddenly jumps out of bed, crying, slams
the door, turns out the light and jumps back in bed. He cries
himself to sleep. How are we to understand this reaction? This
is not an instinctive kind of choice. There are different kinds
of reactions and there is a possibility of a choice between them.
If the child has lived under authoritarianism, the child will
accept life as a conformist and will take life as it is laid down
for him. This does not mean that he will not resist, for often
he will, but even in his resisting, he will realize that eventually
he will have to give in. He will get out to the ragged edge of
destruction, trying to assert himself as a person, trying to be-
come a person and there is always something positive in acts
of rebellion. His resistance then is a simple form of self asser-
tion in order to preserve whatever individuality he has left
rather than becoming a complete conformist. The problem is
how to prevent the process of socialization from being com-
pletely dominant to the point of snuffing out individuality.
His hostility toward his environment is demonstrated by pun-
ishing himself, he carried out and went beyond the punish-
ment threatened by the parents. Since by force he is taking
his action more seriously than his parents do, he will make his
standards higher than his parents' standards, and will actually
punish himself more severely than parents would punish him.
The same thing would be true in reaction to his teachers, etc.
He will find eventually that he can protect himself from criti-
cism by self-punishment and needs that protection for the sake
of preserving his own individuality. Self -punishment therefore
is a normal reaction, and in such circumstances as these, it is
a healthy reaction; but at the same time there is always the
danger of extremes, i.e., the child may give in to complete au-
thoritarian control and become a complete conformist, an
absolutely dependent person unable to sever the symbolic um-
bilical cord ; or else the self-punishment process will lead in the
path of masochism.
Now, according to Freud, this original or legalistic con-
science or super-ego, will continue through the life of the adult,
normally unchanged. This is a law, or legal conscience because
it snaps at certain kinds of things that it has been taught to
snap at in the original development. This is not bad because
the conscience snaps, but it is bad because the person cannot
consciously determine whether the conscience is snapping at
the right or wrong thing, hence an ethic is involved. For ex-
ample, Leslie D. Weatherhead 9 tells of Bishop Selwyn, who as a
missionary among the cannibal Maoris of New Zealand wrote :
"If I speak to a native on murder, infanticide, cannibalism, and
adultery, they laugh in my face, and tell me I may think these
acts are bad, but they are very good for a native, and they
cannot conceive any harm in them." Such a missionary has to
work with a legalistic conscience in a culture alien to our own.
Freud would say that the super-ego is dominating the picture.
This is what concerned Paul when he spoke of the "weak"
conscience in writing to the Corinthians. 10 Some of the Corin-
thians could not eat the meat that had been offered to idols
because of the way their conscience would react within them-
selves in regard to the meat.
If the "law" conscience develops, what is the meaning of
this in theology and ethics?
Obviously we have to make a different approach. This
raises a number of questions in our minds. In philosophy, there
is not much to say in our limited time, but you will observe that
philosophy generally starts at what may be called "that which
somehow calls away from something and directs toward a
value." Common to both philosophy and theology is some kind
of a sense of obligation to the good, philosophy operating ob-
jectively as a criticism or judgment upon the individual. The
mere operation, however, is no indication that the conscience
is operating correctly. The humanistic conscience is seen only
by results and not by a feeling of oughtness. In this, humanism
differs from the large body of philosophical thought.
As to theology, we would say that feelings of oughtness
should exist in the mature Christian because of a responsibility
to freedom, the glorious liberty of the children of God, and
not to obligation. The "sense of oughtness" is a responsibility
to freedom and not a responsibility to law, or to obligation.
This incorporates the fundamental aspects of a covenant of
grace as over against a covenant of law. Usually the motiva-
tion involved is expressed in the word agape, i.e., there are
6 A Plain Man Looks at the Cross. (N.Y. : Abingdon-Gokesbury Press, 1945), p.
172. This kind of phenomenon is well documented by the works of Nameions
cultural anthropologists, e.g., Margaret Mead.
10 I Cor. 8:7 ff., 10:25 ff. To get the total Pauline treatment of the conscience read
this entire section of the Corinthian letter.
certain laws on the statute books requiring you who are parents
to care for the children born in your home. There is such a
law in the state of Georgia. If you should go on a wild week-
end, drunk, leaving a couple of children locked in your home,
unfed, untended and a neighbor discovers it, the state reserves
the right to step in your home and deny your parentage.
Do we who are parents provide the needs of life for our
own children because the law says we must, and we may be
caught if we do not, or do we provide for our children because
we love them? If our motivation is the latter then by so much
we have moved from law to grace. The law, as Paul pointed
out, is necessary because of the fact that not all have the love
of God in their hearts, therefore the need for restraint. To the
extent that we are motivated by the love of God, to that extent
have we transcended the law.
The Greek word syne de sis, has the same root meaning as
our word conscience; it means "knowledge with" and the idea
of the Greek use is the deepest possible knowledge of one's
internal motivation. All we have said in regard to the psy-
chological and ethical treatments of conscience is most sig-
nificantly dealt with by Paul in I Corinthians, note especially
chapter 8, vss. 7 following, chapter 10, vss. 25 following. To
get the total picture you need to read the whole section.
When the original or the legalistic conscience, also termed
super-ego or what Paul refers to by the adjective "weak", is
brought into awareness and is worked through constructively,
the person discovers in the maturity that follows a responsibility
to freedom rather than a responsibility to internalized law. This
responsibility to freedom may correctly be termed a grown-up,
a mature, or an ethical conscience. However, it would be our
position that such a development remains inadequate until the
person is able to symbolize in consciousness the truth that it is
the work of God that delivers us from the law and actualizes
the sense of responsibility to freedom.
This understanding of the conscience now forms a base
for comprehending ways and complications of dealing with the
ethical fiber of our culture. It is here that Allport 11 contends
we need research that is not forth coming at the present.
11 Personality and Social Encounter. (Boston: Beacon Press, 1960), Ch. 21, "Guide-
lines for Research in International Cooperation", pp. 347-362.
Gordon W. Allport asks the question, "Can social science
help us reduce bias to a more effective use of law, the class-
room, of mass media, of individual therapy?" He notes prop-
erly the absence of sufficient research of an adequate nature
to answer this question. He has then noted the manner in
which society attempts to deal with attitudes. The common
methods are by legislation, formal educational programs, con-
tact and acquaintance programs, group re-training, mass media,
exhortation, individual therapy, and catharsis. That attitude
changes might take place by the employment of one or more
of these procedures is evidenced in the enormous amount of
money being extended constantly for advertising. According
to the best available research, the most adequate of all methods
for changing attitudes and consequently ethical behavior is
through individual psychotherapy, but the utilization of therapy
on a wide scale is, of course, impossible. At the same time
what has been learned about the conscience and the manner
in which it functions plus the appropriate social behavior of
the mature, humanistic conscience as over against the legal-
istic conscience, can assist us in all of the methods surveyed
in strengthening the moral fiber of a society.
Airport's conclusion seems to me to be an appropriate
"While I sincerely believe in the value of the work re-
viewed, I have no desire to oversimplify the problem of build-
ing altruistic character. The issue is so complex, and the need
so great, that every resource must be called upon. It would
be a grave error to think that we have devised a bag of tricks,
which, if adroitly manipulated, will conjure up a good neighbor.
But it would be an equally grave error to assume that the plod-
ding and serious investigations here reported have nothing to
contribute to the improvement of human relationships. Edu-
cation and religion, mass media and legislation, child training
and psychotherapy — these and all other channels of human
effort must be followed if we are to produce a race of men
who will seek their individual salvation, not at the expense of
their fellows, but in concert with them."
12 Ibid. Ch. 15, "Techniques for Reducing Group Prejudice", pp. 237-255.
13 Ibid. P. 255.
Philosophical Elements In
The Early Reformed Tradition
Paul T. Fuhrmann
Nowadays the road of an historian is beset by such ob-
stacles that it is practically impossible to express anything
about the Early Reformed Tradition without provoking protest.
American historians 1 have demonstrated that people of Anglo-
Saxon stock generally assume that the founders of the Re-
formed Church on the continent shared our own local ideas
and ways — an historical impossibility ! Our current religion
in America bears little resemblance to the Reformed faith
historically understood. The ideas and mores of our con-
stituency derive in part from Anglo-Saxon dissenters who
were anterior to the European Protestant Reformation. There
was, in England, a tradition of native resistance dating back
to the conquest. The founders of the Reformed Church, not
being Englishmen, did not possess the dissenter mentality. The
early Reformers may have been against the papacy but they
were not against the Church. They loved the Church and
wanted to form her anew (as the word 'reform' indicates)
on the basis of the New Testament.
Things are further complicated by the fact that we Amer-
icans entertain pietistic habits and methodist ideas which our
ancient Reformers did not possess. The Reformers lived over
two hundred years before Pietism and Methodism came into
existence. Our Reformed fathers were undoubtedly pious and
methodic in their way of life but they were neither Pietists
nor Methodists. Again, many of our people are fond of revival-
ism, but revivalism was utterly unknown in Reformation times.
The last but not least obstacle to a knowledge and under-
standing of the early Reformed tradition is the English Bible
itself. The English Bible carries an infinity of ideas which
belong to the descendants of the Anglo-Saxons which our Re-
formed forefathers did not possess. The early Reformers did
Paul T. Fuhrmann, who is Professor of Church History, is a noted interpreter of
1 Thomas C. Hall, The Religious Background of American Culture, Boston, 1930,
and Franklin H. Littell, From State Church to Pluralism, Garden City, N. Y., 1952.
not use the English Bible for the simple reason that they did
not have it. They studied the New Testament in Greek and
the Old Testament in Hebrew.
The chief founder of the Reformed tradition is Huldreich
ZWINGLI, who was born in Switzerland in 1484 and died in
battle in 1531. At the age of ten he began preparatory school
at Basel and Bern under teachers who were no longer medieval
but new men in sympathy with the Renaissance. The Renais-
sance was a vast rediscovery and imitation of the treasures of
antiquity, a re-birth of arts, sciences (especially in Italy) and
literature (especially in Germany). This last activity (the
study of letters) was more serious in Germany and it is often
called 'Humanism 5 . This word, which today has a bad mean-
ing, comes from the Latin word humanitas, properly meaning
'education. 5 The humanists were well read in Greek and Latin.
They were educated men, men of refined ideas and feelings and
they wanted other men to be educated and 'humanized 5 .
In 1500 Zwingli went for about three years to the Uni-
versity of Vienna which Celtis and Vadian had recently made
a centre of humanism. There Zwingli studied all that phil-
osophy embraces. He then studied theology at the University
of Basel under Wyttenbach, who had forsaken Occamist and
Thomist teachings for the Scriptures and Church Fathers.
Zwingli was awarded his master's degree in 1506. He be-
came a parish priest. He greatly admired Erasmus, the
scholar and satirist, who thought that the world was overloaded
with obscure dogmas invented by professional theologians. He
urged men to go back to the source of Christianity, that is,
the New Testament. Erasmus thought that Christianity was
submerged under a morass of vain ceremonies and dogmas.
It is not by going to church, he said, that we can learn what
Christianity is, but by reading the New Testament. Erasmus
was convinced that a knowledge of the earliest Christian
writers would renew the Church and better the world of men.
Truth must be simple, and charity was more important than
theology. Zwingli was attracted to the program of Erasmus
and even went to see him in Basel. Zwingli was an enlightened
parish priest and was interested in the general welfare of the
community. Having twice gone to Italy as a chaplain of
Swiss mercenary troops, Zwingli came to dislike foreign wars
and to oppose Swiss mercenary service. Zwingli moved to
Zurich and on January 1, 1519, began to expound the Gospel
with Erasmian faithfulness with a view to the renewal of
Christian life. For years Zwingli was a disciple of Erasmus
and knew nothing about Luther.
We like to imagine that Zwingli believed what we currently
believe and hold dear, but what Zwingli actually believed can
easily be known because Zwingli put all his main ideas into a
work entitled, Exposition of True and False Religion (1525) . 2
It is a manifesto of reformed Christianity as understood by
Zwingli. All of Zwingli's doctrines are strongly influenced by
Erasmus, by the ancient philosophers who lived before Jesus,
and by the Stoics especially, whom Zwingli constantly quotes.
The founder of ancient (older) Stoicism lived three hun-
dred years before Jesus. He was not a Greek but a Semite,
that is, a kind of Jew. His name was Zeno (334-262 B. C.)
and he was a Phenician. Zeno brought a new religious and
theistic tone to Greek philosophy. Rather than a homogenous
system of doctrines, Stoicism was a religious orientation of
thought and life. God, according to Zeno, is neither Olympian
nor Dionysian, but a great Governor who runs all things in the
universe and yet lives in society with men and reasonable beings.
He disposes of all things in their favor. Virtue, for the Stoic,
consists in accepting and cooperating with God's work accord-
ing to a man's particular nature and ability. 3 Cooperation
with God is possible thanks to the understanding (reason)
which wise men receive from God. Zeno therefore is the
prophet of Reason (Logos); and for him philosophy is the
exact knowledge (science) of things divine and human. 4
According to Zeno the universe is the effect of a cause
which acts according to a necessary law. Nothing can happen
otherwise than it happens. God, the Soul of Zeus, Reason,
necessity, destiny (eimarmene) are all one and the same thing
for Zeno. Hence, to follow nature, to follow reason, to follow
2 The Works of H. Zwingli translated by various scholars and edited by Samuel M.
Jackson, 3 vols., New York and Philadelphia, 1912-1929. Vol. Ill contains Zwingli's
Commentary on True and False Religion, pp. 45-343.
3 Diogene Laerce, Vie, Doctrines et sentences des philosophes illustres, traduction
nouvelle de R. Genaille, Paris, n.d., Vol. I, p. 75. (DL)
*Emile Brehier, Histoire de la philosophie, Paris, 1951, Vol. I, p. 297-298.
God, this threefold ideal is one for the Stoics. 5 Error, evil,
comes from the fact that passions (which are "irrational move-
ments of the soul contrary to nature") 6 , human folly and
fanaticism, perturb the higher and directing power of the soul
which the Stoics called the egemonikon and placed in the
heart. 7 To destroy and suppress passions is a vain dream,
Man is not a statue made of stone. The wise man, however,
must rise above passion and reach a serene state of mind called
apatheia. 8 For the Stoics the world is such a mess that it can-
not be changed. But men can; and the Stoics aimed at being
a school of spirituality which changes men. Men ought not to
live in isolation and be separated but follow, according to their
individuality, one same rational order of things; they ought
to be brethren, cosmopolitans, internationalists, belonging to
the City of Zeus. The Stoics thus gave a philosophical basis
to the brotherhood of all men. This humanitarian spirit cared
for the poor, the unprivileged and the oppressed. 9
Zwingli's idea of God is in many respects Stoic. The
founder of the Reformed Church calls God "the entelechy
and energy of the universe." God is the being, preservation,
life and movement of all things which live and move. 10 "He
is the foundation of all things. God is good. He is perenially
bountiful. He spends himself gratuitously (amisthoti)" Zwin-
gli explains the Greek noun theos (God) from the verb theein
(to run) . "God runs to us everywhere and is everywhere pres-
ent to help." "God is to the universe what reason is to man."
Zwingli does not separate his faith from his general theory of
things, that is to say, from his philosophy. He conceives the
universe like the Stoics: an inert mass moved by the Spirit. 11
5 E. Brehier, op. cit., pp. 313-314, 320.
6 DL, Vol. II, p. 99.
7 Calvin follows the Stoics in this and speaks of the egeminokon, Institutes,
8 Seneca, Opera quae supersunt, ed. by F. Haase, 3 vols. Leipzig 1852-1853. Ep.
9 Brehier, op. cit., p. 330
10 According to the Stoics, "God is a living, immortal, reasonable, perfect, intelli-
gent, happy being foreign to evil, extending his providence on the world and its
content. He has no human form." DL, Vol. II, p. 94.
11 De vera rel., ch. 3. According to the Stoics, "the entire universe comes from two
principles: one active and the other passive. The passive principle is inert matter
without qualities; the active principle is reason, the divinity which acts upon the
matter." DL, Vol. II, p. 90.
As for salvation, Zwingli says it comes neither from bap-
tism nor from faith but from Divine Providence which works
all and everything. Zwingli published a Treatise on Providence
( 1530) in which he defines Providence as "God's constant and
unchangeable government and administration of all things."
He clearly teaches that the nature of God is love and all God
does is according to his nature. Our election or predestination
to salvation is simply an aspect or consequence of Providence.
Faith is a gift of God and follows upon election, so that not
our faith but election is the principle of justification. Our
salvation is the daughter of predestination and predestination
is the daughter of Providence. 12
In his book on True and False Religion, faith consists not
in trust in the promises of God but simply in religion. Zwingli
defines religio, as Cicero defined it, from relegere, carefully
considering and taking care of everything pertaining to the
worship of God. 13 Zwingli further identifies religio with pietas.
And for Zwingli pietas is neither piosity nor sanctimoniousness
but concern for innocence and justice. 14 Zwingli concludes his
book by affirming that all God expects from us is innocence
(i.e., blamelessness) and integrity of character.
Zwingli had a strongly philosophical sense of God. But
the person of Jesus naturally imposed itself upon him. As time
went on, his preaching became more and more Christological.
Jesus creates new life in man. Conversion is a turning to Christ ;
and Christ creates in man the determination to obey the law
(which expresses the eternal will of God) and gives man the
strength to do it. Political authority must execute the will of
God expressed in Scripture. In Zurich the cooperation between
Church and State was so close that the City could be called
a theocratic State. The Swiss reformation of the Christian
Church thus began in Zurich and from there spread to Grau-
bunden (1526), St. Gall (1527), Bern (1528), Basel (1529),
and later on to Geneva (1535).
Zwingli was no ignorant preacher or an obscurantist.
Zwingli admired "the richness and splendor of Plato", "the
finesse and erudition of Aristotle", "the incorruptible heart of
13 De Providentia, summarized.
13 De vera rel., ch. 1.
14 De vera rel., Epilogue.
the Greek poet Pindar", "the laboring soul of Seneca." Zwingli
professed to be "a disciple of Christ as well as a disciple of
Plato and Seneca". 15
Another founder of the Reformed Church is Martin
BUCER. He was born in 1491 in an Alsatian town which was
the seat of a famous school of humanists. Bucer became a
Dominican monk but continued to study the ancient classics
at Heidelberg. Bucer admired Erasmus and remained a Chris-
tian humanist throughout life. In 1523 Bucer joined some Re-
formers in Strasbourg and published there the manifesto of his
faith, Instruction in Christian Love (1523). 16
Long before Calvin and the Reformation in Geneva were
known to exist, Strasbourg was the center of French Protes-
tantism. That is to say, persecuted French Protestants went
to Strasbourg. Bucer gave great attention to learning and to
the establishment of schools. The thought of Zwingli was influ-
ential in Strasbourg. Bucer remained a humanist and an edu-
cator, both in Strasbourg and in England, where he died in
1551. In his Kingdom of Christ Bucer presented the ideal of
a nation informed by the spirit of Christ, in which all the
various aspects of society and human nature, including the
intellect, are developed. The thought of Bucer was vast and
It is time now to come to John CALVIN who organized
and gave a classical form to the Reformed tradition. He was
born in France in 1509 and died in Geneva in 1564. His father
placed the young John under the care of the noble Montmor
family. From these patrons Calvin learned aristocratic man-
ners and a certain finesse of taste which he kept throughout life.
In 1523 Calvin entered a college in Paris where he had an
incomparable teacher of Latin — Mathurin Cordier who was
a humanist and a passionate educator. After one year Calvin
changed his college, studying philosophy under a Spaniard,
Antonio Coronel. From Coronel Calvin learned the principal
philosophical systems of antiquity and the art of analysis,
definition, dialectics and debate, which enabled him to become
the greatest controversialist of his time. While in school,
^Quoted, Emile G. Leonard, Histoire generate du Protestantisme, (3 vols., Paris,
1961-1964), Vol. I, p. 124.
16 John Knox Press, Richmond, Va., 1952.
Calvin was naturally Aristotelian in logic and rhetoric, but
he must have read the works of Plato available in a Latin
translation. He continued to quote Plato throughout his life.
About 1528 Calvin received the Master of Arts degree. He
then studied law at Orleans and then at Bourges where an
Italian, Alciati, explained law in the light of history and social
life. Though studying law, Calvin was soon carried away by
his love for ancient literature. The death of his father in 1531
gave him freedom to follow his humanist inclinations. After
receiving the degree of Licentiate in Law, Calvin returned to
Paris to listen to layminded royal lecturers who aimed at inde-
pendence of thought. Under the influence of this new learning
of humanism Calvin published his first book, an exposition
of Seneca's Treatise on Compassion of Superiors for Inferiors
(1532). It shows that Calvin had read Homer, Virgil, Plato,
Aristotle, Epictetus, Cicero. In other words, Calvin had ab-
sorbed the ancient wisdom which the Renaissance had brought
to light and greeted as the rational ideal of life. But for Calvin
one voice in antiquity was supreme — that of Seneca the Stoic.
Seneca (4 A. D. - 65 A. D.) was first the educator and
then the manager of Nero. Seneca believed in God. Seneca's
God is the mind of the universe. He is pure Reason. 17 God is
the rector and custodian of the world, the soul and spirit of the
universe. He provides for all things. 18 A holy spirit resides in
us and observes our deeds good and bad. Hence no man is
without God 19 and no mind is good without God. 20 Seneca
believed in the possibility of freedom in this world: the wise
man can put his soul above injuries and draw joy and satisfac-
tion from his own thoughts. 21 A slave can be inwardly a free
man because only the body is subject to a master; the soul can
be free and place itself above all things. 22 A slave can be in-
wardly free while other men, his masters and the rest of the
world, are slaves of conformity, social ambition and greed for
money. 23 Seneca's ethics is a continuous vindication of a re-
17 Seneca, Nat. quaest., I, Prologue, 11-14.
18 nulla sine deo mens bona est. Seneca, Nat. quaest., II, 45.
19 Seneca, Ep., 41, 1-2.
20 Seneca, Ep., 73, 16.
21 Seneca, De const, sap., XIX, 2.
23 Seneca, De ben., 3, 20.
23 Seneca, Ep., 47, 17.
ligious will against anything that tends to limit it. "God is
near thee, God is with thee, God is in thee. The divine spirit
resides within us, observer and custodian of our actions good
and evil. There, in us, as we treat him, he treats us. No man
can be good without God. 5524
Seneca was strongly humanitarian. He thought that man
is sacred. 25 Man ought not to kill man but extend his hand
to the lost, to the desperate, and share his bread with the
hungry. 26 There is nothing weak and fanciful in Seneca. He
conceives man's inner life as a struggle between two principles —
the godlike and the godless. To him, life is an armed camp, a
military service which calls for endurance. Seneca recognized
the tie of fellowship in all possible relationships. Men must
live for others. Masters should treat their slaves as fellow-
servants and fellow-soldiers. Individual happiness is bound up
with the happiness of others. 27
It was the Stoics who gave birth to the idea of equality.
Yet intellectually Seneca is an aristocrat. To his friend, Lu-
cilius, who asked him what he ought principally to avoid,
Seneca answered "The crowd." 28 The wise man is self-suf-
ficient. We must not be the slaves of any event, thing or per-
son. This is freedom. 29 We must continually struggle against
evil. The beginning of salvation is an awareness of sin: an
acknowledgement of one's faults and a will to amend. 30 "The
day of death will divide this compound of divine and human
which is man. . . . Darkness will be dissipated and total light
will come." 31 But Seneca believed in the possibility of progress
in this world also. "If many people today do not know the
cause of eclipses of the moon, time will come when men will
come to know much that is unknown to us. Many discoveries
are reserved for future ages." 32
24 bonus vero vir sine deo nemo est, Seneca, Ep., 41, 1-2.
25 homo, sacra res homini. Seneca, Ep., 95, 33, cf. Calvin on Luke 10:30 and
Institutes, III, 7, 6.
^Seneca, Ep., 95, 51-53.
"Seneca, Ep., 51-5-6.
28 Seneca, Ep., 7, 1-2.
29 Seneca, £/>., 51,4-9.
30 "The beginning of salvation is an awareness of sin — acknowledgement of one's
faults and will to amend." Epicurus in Seneca, Ep., 28, 9.
81 Seneca, Ep., 102, 22-30.
83 Seneca, Nat. quaest., VII, 25.
For the later Stoic Epictetus (50 A. D. - c. 140) ethics
is founded upon a knowledge of God (prolepsis theou) inserted
in the nature of man who, as a rational being, participates in
the divine nature. The present life is a battlefield; the phil-
osopher's life ought to be a service of God (diaconia tou
theou) ; 33 the wise man ought to be a minister of religion, a
witness for God, a brave soldier of God and a good citizen of
the City of God. 34
In 1532, Calvin was full of admiration for Stoicism and
Seneca. He was addicted to philosophy when, behold ! he had
a conversion. His conversion is not to be understood in pie-
tistic or methodist terms. Nor did his conversion happen at a
revival meeting. In all probability Calvin was converted by
himself. He gives us a good description of what conversion
means, when (speaking either for himself or for the typical
Reformed men of his day) in a book addressed to Cardinal
Sadoletus, Calvin says:
O Lord, thou hast enlightened me by the clarity of thy
Spirit in order that I may think . . .
Thou hast put before me thy Word as a torch
in order that I may know . . .
Finally thou hast touched my heart. . . , 35
This enables us to understand the nature of Calvin's conver-
sion. Calvin says: "This is the principle which distinguishes
our Religion from all others: we know that God has spoken
to us, and are certainly convinced that the prophets did not
speak their own minds, but, being organs and instruments of the
Holy Spirit, they proclaimed only what they had received from
above. . . . That same Spirit who made Moses and the prophets
certain of their calling now also witnesses to our hearts that
God has used their ministry to instruct us." 36
If such was the conversion of Calvin, when did it happen?
We have a score of early letters of Calvin. These early letters
33 Epictetus, Disc, III, 22, 69. On Rom. 2:24 Calvin speaks of prolepsis.
81 Epictetus, Dies., Ill, 24, 112.
85 Calvin, Oeuvres, II, (Trois Traites), Paris, 1934, p. 82.
30 Comment aires de J. Calvin sur le Nouveau Testament, Paris, 1855, Vol. IV, pp.
show no religious concern, no elan of charity, when suddenly
a letter written from Angouleme (ex Agropoli) at the end of
March 1534 shows a religious fervor. Calvin declares that the
peace of mind (tranquility) which he enjoys has been given
to him "by the hand of God". "Let us rest on him," he adds,
"he will take care of us." 37 The Stoic ideas which Calvin had
assimilated in early manhood were not entirely abandoned.
They remained in his mind to reappear in his Institutes, as
well as in his Expositions of books of the Bible. Calvin re-
mained a Stoic in his personal habits. Abhorring the crowds,
he stayed at home among his books. He only went out when
he had to preach, to teach, or to attend an important meeting.
In youth he had absorbed the culture of his day — and what
a culture ! — that of the Renaissance ! Yet he was not satisfied.
He continued to read and to study. He was truly an intel-
lectual. He perpetually used all possible tools of knowledge
in preparing his Biblical expositions. Throughout them he
refers to most ancient authors. 38 In preparing his exposition
of John's gospel he kept before his eyes even the ancient Nonnos'
versification of the Fourth Gospel. 39 Calvin believed that "the
first duty of an expositor is to discover the intention and clearly
and concisely to expound the thought (mentem) of a Biblical
writer." 40 In his ministry, which he conceived as a strenuous
military service, 41 Calvin was unconsciously reflecting Stoic
Let us consider Seneca's attitude toward God and life
as a whole and then compare it with the 'Calvinism' of Calvin.
Seneca repeated with a new emphasis Plato's definition of
man's duty: "The first point in the worship of the gods is to
believe that the gods exist; second to render unto them their
majesty; to render likewise their goodness without which there
87 In Lichtenberger, ESR, Vol. II, p. 531.
88 Calvin knows the older Greeks as well as those who lived nearer to the time of the
New Testament: Polybius, Josephus, Plutarch. It is the same with Roman writers:
Calvin quotes Pliny as well as Macrobius, cf. e.g. on Phil. 3:5, Rom. 3:15, Matt.
2:16. Calvin quotes Plato (on Luke 1:75, Matt. 5:42, 19:5, Rom. 1:13, I Cor.
10:20, 14:7, Eph. 4:17, I Tim. 2:1, Tit. 1:7, 12, 26) and the Theurgians who fol-
lowed Ammonius Saccas the founder of Neoplatonism (on Col. 2:18). In his In-
stitutes, see the authors listed in the Index.
39 Printed at Venice, 1501, and Hagenau, 1527.
40 Latin and French Dedication of Commentary on Romans by Calvin.
"Calvin's 27th Sermon on Job 7:1 Opera XXXIII, col. 334-340 and Institutes,
III, 25, 1, Cf. non est delicata res viveie, (Seneca Ep., 107, 2) vivere militare est,
Seneca Ep., 96, 5.
is no majesty; to know that the gods preside over the world,
that they direct the universe by their power, protect mankind,
and sometimes have regards for individuals. The gods neither
bring evil nor have it in themselves; but they correct and check
some men, they inflict penalties, sometimes they punish under
apparent blessings. Wouldst thou propitiate the gods? Be thou
good thyself. He has worshipped them aright who has imitated
them." 42 And again: "The divine nature is not worshipped
with the fat bodies of slain bulls, or with gold or silver votive
offerings, or with money collected for the sacred treasury, but
with a pious and upright will." 43 If we care to substitute in
these passages of Seneca "God" for "gods" we have the follow-
ing fundamental ideas : "The first point in religion is to believe
that God exists; second to render unto him his majesty; to
render likewise his goodness without which there is no majesty;
to know that God presides over the world, that he directs the
universe by his power, protects mankind, and has regard for
individuals. God neither brings evil nor has it in himself; but
he corrects and checks men, he inflicts penalties, sometimes
he punishes under the appearance of prosperity. Wouldst thou
propitiate God? Be thou good thyself. He has worshipped
him aright who has imitated him. The divine nature is not
worshipped by the splendor of large buildings, or with dollar
offerings, or with money collected for the church, but with a
devout and upright will." If this is not authentic Calvinism,
then I do not know what Calvinism is!
Let us consider another passage of Seneca: "We shall
never find anything satisfactory. He who follows another man
finds nothing, rather he seeks nothing. Our predecessors are
our guides not our masters (i.e. owners). All and each of us
can seek truth. No one so far has taken (full) possession of
it." 44A Seneca does not say that we are altogether to reject
our teachers but to improve upon them ; he believed in stability
yet in liberty of thought and progress. Calvin, in like manner,
took ideas from Luther but he improved upon them. If we
compare Luther's Large Catechism (1529) , 44B which was writ-
43 Seneca, Ep., 95, 50.
^Seneca, Ep., 115, 5.
44a Seneca, Ep. } 33, 10-11.
44b Published by the Augsburg Press in St. Paul, Minnesota.
ten for ministers, with Calvin's Instruction in Faith (1537), 45
which is simply the first edition of the French edition of the
Institutes, we can see that Calvin follows Luther's pattern but
improves upon it. Calvin does the same thing in his Exposi-
tions of different books of the Bible. He improves upon, yet
purposely does not greatly depart from, the Commentaries
of Melanchthon, Bullinger and Bucer, because varying ex-
positions diminish the majesty of the Word of God. 46
Calvin not only preserved Stoic theism but, from one point
of view, was one of the fathers of the later French rationalism
of the Enlightenment. Many people are emotionally condi-
tioned against the word 'rationalism'. Rationalism, in itself,
is neither good nor bad. Everything depends upon the use
which we make of rationalism. Orthodoxy has always used
reason and philosophy to prove its dogmas. Classical Rational-
ism is that philosophical method which, in contrast to sensisme
which believes that all knowledge comes from the five senses
(sight, hearing, smell, taste and touch), believes that real and
sure knowledge derives from certain inborn ideas. To reach
the truth, a man does not need to experience the outer world;
all he needs to do is to meditate, to think, to put his mind in
operation and then he will reach the truth. The watchword
of the Enlightenment was simply: "Dare to use your mind!"
(Sap ere audel Kant). Reason is one and whole in all men,
at all times, and in all nations. This was the 'rationalism' of
Anselm, Calvin, Descartes and Leibnitz who were far from
Today, in order to understand the behavior of man, we
study rats and monkeys. Calvin never did that. He knew
that the literature of the Greeks and Romans has a wealth
of teaching about the nature of man and of wisdom. Calvin
derives many of his concepts of the working of the human
mind from Neoplatonism and Stoicism. Calvin, like the Stoics,
calls the directing part or intellect 'the governor' (to egemoni-
kon).* 7 It discerns and judges things proposed to us. The
45 Published by the Westminster Press, Philadelphia. Still the best introduction to
Calvin's thought. See J. Cadier, The Man God Mastered, p. 184.
40 Preface to Romans where Calvin gives his estimate of the Expositions of Me-
lanchthon, Bullinger, and Bucer. At the end of his Argument of the Synoptics,
Calvin acknowledges his indebtedness to Bucer's Gospel Expositions.
"Institutes, I, 15, 8.
will elects and follows what the intellect thinks good. 48 Like
the Stoics, Calvin says that every man in every land from the
womb of his mother is born with rational principles, with
what the ancients called koinai ennoiai — notions common to
all men. 49 Such inborn ideas, Calvin says, are not the product
of chance or art but are placed in man ex utero as part of the
wisdom of God. 50 In explaining what Jesus means by "the
light which is in thee" (Matthew 6:22-23) Calvin says
that light is "the light of reason" "which ought to regulate
our life," while darkness signifies gross and brutal affections
which, according to the Stoics, obscure reason.
As to the principle of theology proper Calvin, in his
Instruction in Faith, says that no man is found who is not
affected by some idea of religion. We are all created to
know the majesty of God. That idea is planted in our hearts. 51
Calvin says the same thing in relation to the principles
of morality: the seeds of law are implanted (insita) in all
men, without teachers or legislators. Our passion or cupidity,
however, makes us violate the law. But just as no man is
devoid of the light of reason 52 , love of justice (aequitas) is
born in each of us. This love of justice is natural and is
inborn in every man; hence it is the same for all mankind.
This principle (ratio) of equity (concern for justice) has been
engraved by God (a Deo insculpta) in the mind of every
man. 53 The Decalogue or Law of God is simply an authori-
tative witness to this moral law naturally born in us. Our
conscience shows us the difference between good and evil.
The Lord offers us his written law to clarify natural law and
^Institutes, I, 15, 7.
49 Herbert of Cherbury (1581-1648) and Voltaire (1694-1778) say that these
koinai ennoniai of Calvin constitute the true religion. Constantine Volney (1757-
1820) seeks the union of all religions by the recognition of the common truth
underlying them all. He came to the U. S. A. in 1795 but being violently opposed
by Dr. Priestley and charged with being a French spy, Volney had to return to
France in 1797.
80 "Ces notions communes . . . (koinai ennoiai) n'etaient, d'apres Herbert de
Cherbury, le produit ni du hasard ni de I'art, mais des portions de la sagesse divine,
que nous tenons du Createur. De la le nom de religion naturelle qu'il donnait a
leur ensemble." E. Chastel, Histoire du Christianisme, Paris, 1883, Vol. V, p. 118-
119. "Hors de Ueglise des 'notions communes' point de salut." ibid., p. 118.
51 Ch. 1, p. 17. See note 47 above.
"Institutes, II, 2, 12-13.
"Institutes, IV, 20, 14-16.
to impress it upon our understanding and memory. 54 In ex-
pounding Paul's Letter to the Romans Calvin again tells us
that each man has some manifestation of God engraved on
his heart, and this is not learned in schools but is inborn and
common to all classes of men and all races of men. All this
is written in our hearts. But for Calvin, the heart is the seat
not only of feelings but of ideas as well (as in Deut. 29:4). 55
The Stoics were moved by a genuine love for humanity.
Calvin was also a humanitarian. In expounding the meaning
of what we call today the Parable of the Good Samaritan,
Calvin says that "the word neighbor extends without dis-
tinction to every man because the whole human race is
united by a sacred bond of fellowship. . . . The Lord purposely
declares that all are neighbors, that every relationship may
produce mutual love. To make any person our neighbor,
therefore, it is enough that he be a man; for it is not in our
power to blot out our common nature. . . . The general truth
conveyed is, that the greatest stranger is our neighbor, because
God had bound all men together, for the purpose of assisting
each other. . . . Here, as I have said, the chief design is to
show that the neighborhood, which lays us under obligation
to mutual duties of kindness, is not confined to friends or rela-
tives, but extends to the whole human race. . . . The compas-
sion that a Samaritan enemy showed for a Jew demonstrates
that the guidance and teaching of nature are sufficient to show
that man was created for the sake of man." 56
Calvin inculcated the virtue of tolerance. He taught
that the obscure saying of Jesus
No man puts a new cloth on an old garment
For . . . a worse rent would occur (Matt. 9: 15 ) 57
means that "all men must not be compelled indiscriminately
to live in the same manner, because there is in men a di-
versity of makeup (conditio) and complexes (French com-
plexions) and all things are not suitable to all men." Hence
Calvin advised ministers to offer a variety of instruction ac-
64 Institutes, II, 8, 1.
68 Calvin on Romans 1 : 19-22 ; 2 : 14.
M Calvin on Luke 10:30.
57 Calvin on Matt. 9:16.
cording to case and capacity. 58 In his respect for persons and
in his love of mankind, Calvin followed the Stoics. "The Lord
commands us to do good to all men without exception. . . . We
must not regard the intrinsic merits of men, but consider the
Image of God in them. To that image we owe all possible
honor and love (French dilection). . . This Divine Image by
its beauty, dignity and glory, must eclipse the faults of men
and move us to love them." 59
That Calvin was not an obscurantist is shown by his
saying that "no one will be a minister of the Word of God
unless he first be a first rate scholar." 60 That he was an intel-
lectual is indicated best of all by his daily prayer for students :
Calvin tells us to pray "for
1) enlightenment of the intellect to understand matters
2) strengthening of memory to retain faithfully the
things understood and learned, and finally
3) disposition of heart to desire to make progress and
lose no occasion to instruct oneself." 61
For, "to charge man's power of understanding with perpetual
blindness, so as to leave it no intelligence with regard to any-
thing, is," Calvin said, "contrary not only to the Divine Word
but also to the experience of common sense." 62
In conclusion, it appears clear to me and other historians
that Protestantism is entering a new dark age of intellectual
regression and obscurantism. People are the prey of irra-
tional fears. The founders of the Reformed Church were not
afraid of philosophy. Zwingli studied especially the ancient
Stoics; Calvin, the later Stoics. They used the contribution
of ancient philosophy, especially Stoicism, in their study of the
Biblical Revelation. They did not, however, make a synthesis
of the two. They accepted and kept parallel two great syn-
theses already made: the Writings of the Stoics and the Books
of the Bible. This is most clear in Calvin. He uses both the
58 Calvin on Matt. 13:52.
m Institutes, 111,7,6.
60 Calvin, Opera, Vol. XXVI, col. 406.
01 Calvin, Oeuvres, Paris, 1934, Vol. I, p. 133.
63 Institutes, II, 2, 12.
philosophy of Stoicism and the Biblical revelation to illumine
the situation. Zwingli and Calvin used Reason in the service
of the Gospel. Calvinism has often been defined as Scripture
understood by Reason.
Emotion paralyzes and constricts while Reason considers
and includes. Like St. Paul, 63 we ought to consider every
thing, examine every thing, absorb and apply to our task what-
ever Reason sees to be true, good, beautiful and useful in our
work for the Lord.
IThes. 5:21; Phil. 4:8.
The Enigma of Death
Stuart B. Babbage
An observing modern writer has said: "The fact of death
is the great human repression, the universal 'complex'. Dying
is the reality that man dare not face, and to escape which he
summons all his resources. . . . Death is muffled up in illu-
sions." 1 We do not need to cite Jessica Mitford's entertain-
ing documentary, The American Way of Death, 2 to substanti-
ate the truth of this conclusion; the evidence is plain for all
to see. It is reflected in the very language we use to describe
the fact of death. This is illustrated by an amusing incident
in Noel Coward's comedy, This Happy Breed.
Frank and his sister Sylvia are sitting in the lounge room.
Sylvia, who is a soured spinster, has become an ardent Chris-
tian Scientist. Frank and Sylvia have finished supper and are
listening to the wireless; Frank's wife Ethel is in the kitchen.
Sylvia : There's not so much to do since Mrs. Flint
Frank : I do wish you wouldn't talk like that, Sylvia,
it sounds so soft.
Sylvia: I don't know what you mean, I'm sure.
Frank : (firmly) Mother died, see ! First of all she
got 'flu and that turned to pneumonia and
the strain of that affected her heart, which
was none too strong at the best of times,
and she died. Nothing to do with passing
on at all.
Sylvia: How do you know?
Frank: I admit it's only your new way of talking,
but it gets me down, see?
(Ethel comes in)
Ethel: What are you shouting about?
Stuart Babbage is Visiting Professor of Practical Apologetics. This paper is a chapter
from a forthcoming book, The Mark of Cain: Studies in Literature and Theology.
*H. P. Lovell Cocks, By Faith Alone (James Clarke, London, 1943), p. 55.
2 Simon and Schuster, New York, 1963.
Frank: I'm not shouting about anything at all. I'm
merely explaining to Sylvia that mother
died. She didn't pass on or pass over or
pass out — she died. 3
This conversation has a distinctly modern flavour. It reflects
our self-consciousness, our uneasy embarrassment, about the
fact of death. Frank, by speaking bluntly of death, is guilty
of a breach of manners if not of decency ; he should not, Sylvia
insists, speak in that way; he should soften the painful reality
by substituting an acceptable euphemism, a tacttful circumlo-
There has been a strange reversal, this century, in rela-
tion to what is now regarded as the forbidden subject. Goef-
frey Gorer points out that in the nineteenth century the pro-
cesses of birth and reproduction were never mentioned in
polite society, whereas the processes of death were an accepted
subject of ordinary conversation. Today, by contrast, the
processes of death are never mentioned in polite society,
whereas the processes of birth and reproduction are a matter
of compulsive preoccupaion and anxious concern. In the prim
and proper days of the nineteenth century, it was felt neces-
sary, in the interests of morality and decency, modestly to
drape the legs of tables and of chairs. Our grandparents, in
their embarrassment and self-consciousness over the facts of
birth, said that babies were found under gooseberry bushes;
we, in our embarrassment and self-consciousness over the facts
of death, speak of "passing on."
This can be illustrated by reference to the field of litera-
ture. It is difficult to recall a play or a novel written during
the past twenty-five years which has a "death-bed scene" in it,
describing in detail the death of a major character from
natural causes. Yet this topic was a set piece for most eminent
Victorian and Edwardian writers, and it evoked their finest
prose. To create the maximum pathos or edification, they
employed the most elaborate technical devices and supplied
a wealth of imaginative detail. 4
A single example will suffice. The climax to The Old
Curiosity Shop is the death of little Nell. The book was pub-
3 Act 3, Scene 1.
4 Geoffrey Gorer, "The Pornography of Death," The Encounter (October, 1955).
lished in serial form, and, when successive installments began
to foreshadow the death of the child, Charles Dickens was
"inundated with imploring letters recommending poor little
Nell to mercy." Dickens was acutely aware of the artistic
demands of the situation, and for days he was in a state of
emotional tension. Dickens had to nerve himself to describe
the death. He confided, "All night I have been pursued by
the child, and this morning I am unrefreshed and miserable."
He felt the suffering so intensely that he described it as "an-
guish unspeakable." Writing to George Cattermole, he said,
"I am breaking my heart over this story."
When the final installment was published, with the litho-
graph illustration showing the dead child lying on a bed, with
pieces of holly on her breast, the resulting emotional excite-
ment was almost unprecedented. Macready, the noted actor,
returning from the theatre, saw the print, and a cold chill ran
through his blood. "I have never read printed words which
gave me so much pain," he noted in his diary. "I could not
weep for some time. Sensations, sufferings, have returned to
me, that are terrible to awaken." Daniel O'Connor, the Irish
Member of Parliament, reading the book in a railway carriage,
was convulsed with sobs and groaned, "He should not have
killed her", and threw the book out the window. Thomas
Carlyle was utterly overcome. Waiting crowds on the pier in
New York harbor shouted to the passengers, "Is little Nell
dead?" The news flashed across the United States and rough
and hardy pioneers dissolved in tears. Lord Jeffrey, one of Her
Majesty's Judges, was found by a friend in the library of his
house, with his head bowed on the table. When his friend
entered the room, she saw that his eyes were filled with tears.
"I had no idea that you had bad news or cause of grief", she
said, "or I would not have come. Is anyone dead?" "Yes,
indeed," he replied, "I'm a great goose to give myself away,
but I couldn't help it. You'll be sorry to hear that little Nelly,
Boz's little Nell, is dead." 5
Without any certainty in the life to come, modern man
finds the facts of natural death and physical decomposition
too horrible to contemplate, let alone to discuss or describe.
It is symptomatic of our present condition that one of the
5 Edgar Johnson, Charles Dickens, His Tragedy and Triumph (Victor Gollancz, Lon-
don, 1953), Vol. l,p. 304.
most flourishing sects in the world today is Christian Science,
which denies the fact of physical death and which refuses to
allow the word to be printed in the columns of the Christian
Evelyn Waugh's novel, The Loved One, is a brilliant
satire on the grotesque extravagances which accompany burial
in southern California. Ruth Mulvey Harmer, in The High
Cost of Dying, in a chapter in which she describes funeral
parlors picturesquely as "turnstiles to eternity," writes:
The body is no longer a corpse! it is the "de-"
parted", the "loved one", or even — with greater
liveliness — "Mr. ". And "Mr. "
is no longer "laid out" for viewing; if he is not
actually stretched out on a bed in a "reposing
room", he is in the "slumber room" waiting to
greet visitors, with his nails carefully manicured,
the proper makeup applied, and perhaps holding
a pipe or a book in a remarkably "natural" way
. . . Coffins have become caskets to hold a preci-
ous treasure. . . . More recently, they have be-
come "couches" to banish further all thoughts of
Sir Francis Hinsley, in Evelyn Waugh's satire, has com-
mitted suicide by hanging. In the embalming rooms of the
Whispering Glades the touching up process is completed. His
friend muses on the nature of the transformation:
They told me, Francis Hinsley, they told me you
With red protruding eye-balls and black pro-
I wept as I remembered how often you and I
had laughed about Los Angeles and now 'tis here
you'll lie ;
Here pickled in formaldehyde and painted like
Shrimp-pink incorruptible, not lost nor gone
6 (Collier Books, New York, 1963) , p. 19.
7 (Penguin Books, Harmondsworth, Middlesex, 1951), p. 69.
These are the lengths to which they go in the Whispering
Glades of California to obliterate the evidences of self-inflicted
death and to arrest the processes of physical decay : they pre-
serve the body in formaldehyde. Arthur Koestler observes that
"morticians endeavour to transform the dead, with lipstick
and rouge, into horizontal members of a perennial cocktail
party", and this horrid pantomime is due, he says, to the fact
that there has been a flight from the tragic facts of existence. 8
There is, in the sceptical and sophisticated world of today,
a morbid fear of death and an anxious avoidance of every-
thing associated with it. The consequences of this may be
seen, for example, in the field of education. A number of
American educationalists are busily engaged in revising nursery
rhymes. No longer are the ears of children to be offended
with deeds of violence and stories of sudden death: Grimm's
Fairy Tales — the tales of Hans Andersen — all are being
expurgated and revised. All references to evil and wickedness,
to suffering and death, are being suppressed and expunged.
Thus children will learn about the Three Kind Mice who
All ran after the farmer's wife,
Who cut them some cheese with a carving knife.
Did ever you hear such a tale in your life? 9
By an interesting coincidence it is the same school of
educationalists who are chiefly concerned with disseminating
and making known "the facts of life." No longer are children
to be threatened with complexes and laden with inhibitions;
the facts of life are to be openly proclaimed. Tell the children
all about the facts of life, but never tell them, they warn, about
the facts of death.
This is the astonishing and anomalous situation in which
we find ourselves: on the one hand, the facts of life openly
proclaimed; on the other hand, the facts of death, hidden,
denied, ignored, and suppressed.
It has been pointed out, however, that what has been
repressed in life has reappeared in the realm of make-believe,
and that what has been rejected by our sensitive educational-
8 The Invisible Writing (Beacon, Boston, 1955), p. 158.
» Joy Davidman, Smoke on the Mountain (Hodder and Staughton, London, 1955),
ists has been reaffirmed in the lurid pages of children's comic
papers. Children, despite the protective precautions and elab-
orate suppressions of their elders, are exposed, in the realm of
comic literature, to the glorification of crime and cruelty, lust
and sadism, and the faked and fictitious presentation is far
more horrifying than the reality that has been denied. Goef-
frey Gorer insists that if men refuse to come to terms with the
realities of life in an open and dignified fashion then they must
expect these realities to make themselves felt in other ways.
"If we dislike the modern pornography of death," he writes,
"then we must give back to death — natural death — its
parade and publicity, readmit grief and mourning. If we
make death unmentionable in polite society — 'not before the
children' — we almost insure the continuation of the 'horror
comic'. No censorship has ever been really effective." 10
The fact remains that we live in the midst of a vast con-
spiracy of silence. "Death is muffled up in illusions." Existen-
tialism, however, points out that if we do not come to terms
with death we cannot come to terms with life. This is the theme
of Sartre's short story, The Wall. It is a discussion of man's
capacity to stand up to torture and death. It is set in the context
of the Spanish Civil War. Three Republican prisoners are in
their cell on the night before their execution. Sartre describes
their reactions during the tormenting hours of waiting, their
humiliating bodily weakness and progressive demoralisation.
Ibbieta, however, faces his fear and, by facing it, conquers it.
He achieves a courage "on the other side of despair" ; he faces
death in a state of "horrible calm", without illusion.
This is what the generality of men are unable to do : they
are unable to face death without illusion. Tolstoy makes this
point with impressive power in his story, The Death of Ivan
Illyich (a work which William Barrett describes as "a basic
scripture for existential thought") - 11 Ivan Illyich refuses to face
the fact that his illness is mortal. To all others the signs of
death are already present. His wife, knowing his condition, per-
suades him to take Communion.
10 Identity and Anxiety (The Freedom Press of Glencoe, Illinois, 1960), p. 407.
u "Existentialism as a Symptom of Man's Contemporary Crisis", in Spiritual Prob-
lems in Contemporary Literature, edited by S. R. Hopper (Harper, New York,
1957), p. 143.
"My darling, do this for me ... It cannot hurt,
and frequently it helps. Healthy people frequent-
ly do it."
He opened his eyes wide.
"What? Communion? What for? It is not nec-
essary! Still—' 5
She burst out weeping.
"Yes, my dear? I will send for our priest — he
is such a nice man."
"All right, very well," he muttered.
When the priest came and took his confession, he
softened, seemed to feel a relief from his doubts,
and so from his suffering, and for a moment was
assailed by hope . . .
When, after the communion, he was put down on
the bed, he for a moment felt easier, and again
there appeared hope of life. He began to think of
the operation which had been proposed to him.
"I want to live, to live", he said to himself. His
wife came back to congratulate him ; she said the
customary words, and added "Truly, are you not
Without looking at her, he said, "Yes". Her at-
tire, her figure, the expression of the face, the
sound of her voice, everything told him one and
the same thing: "It is not the right thing. Every-
thing which you have lived by is a lie, a decep-
tion which conceals from you life and death."
The moment he thought so, there arose his hat-
red, and with his hatred came physical agonized
sufferings, and with the sufferings the conscious-
ness of inevitable, near perdition.
It is time to analyse, in terms of greater particularity,
the significance of death. What is it that gives to death its ter-
ror and its sting? An answer may be found in the painfully de-
tailed account which Dostoievsky gives of his own confrontation
with death. He was arrested, together with other members of
a student reading circle and charged with offenses against the
Russian censorship. On December 22, 1849, the forty-four ac-
cused were taken to the Semyonovsky drill ground. The sheriff
read out the sentences. Again and again the fateful words were
pronounced: "Sentenced to be shot!' 5 Years later Dostoievsky
used to hear them as he awoke in the night. The accused were
forced to put on the white shirts of the condemned, and for
more than twenty minutes they stood in the bitter Russian cold
— fifty degrees below freezing-point. A priest invited them to
make their confessions; but only one did so. They all touched
the crucifix with their lips, kissing it eagerly, hurriedly — just
as though they were anxious to grasp something which might
be useful to them afterwards. Dostoievsky kept thinking, and
he actually said: "It is impossible. They can't mean to kill us."
But his nearest companion pointed to a cart near the scaffold,
with coffins covered with a large cloth.
About twenty paces from where he was standing were
three posts. The first three prisoners were fastened to them,
with white caps drawn over their faces so that they could not
see the rifles pointed at them. Then a group of soldiers took
their stand opposite each post. Dostoievsky was the eighth, and
therefore he would be among the third lot to go up. He had
about five minutes to live, and those five minutes seemed to be
a most interminable period, an enormous wealth of time; he
seemed to be living, in those minutes, so many lives that there
was no need as yet to think of the latest moment. He divided
up the time into parts — one for saying farewell to his friends,
two minutes for that ; then a couple more for thinking over his
own life and all about himself; and another minute for a last
look around. He contrived to kiss the two who were nearest
to him, and he thought of his brother Mikhail and his family.
Then he embarked on those two minutes which he had allotted
to looking into himself. He put it to himself, as quickly and as
clearly as possible, that here he was, a living, thinking man,
and that in three minutes he would be a nobody; or if some-
body or something, then what and where? A little way off there
stood a church, and its gilded spire glittered in he sun. He
stared stubbornly at this spire and at the rays of light; he got
the idea that they were his new nature and that in three min-
utes he would become one of them, amalgamated somehow
But worst of all was this thought : "What should I do if I
were not to die now?" Men not condemned to die esteem life
far too lightly. "What if I were to return to life again? What
an eternity of days, and all mine! How I should grudge and
count up every minute of it, so as to waste not a single instant !"
This thought became such a terrible burden upon his brain that
he could not bear it, and wished they would shoot him quickly
and have done with it. He just waited and waited.
And yet there was a terrible fear. He felt feeble and help-
less ; there was a choking to his throat. He did not lose his wits,
but he was absolutely powerless to move. Then, when the sol-
diers had actually loaded their rifles, there was a shouting and
other noises, and an officer came galloping across the square,
waving a white handkerchief . . . He brought a gracious par-
don from the Emperor. Dostoievsky's sentence was commuted
to four years' imprisonment in Siberia and four years' service as
a private soldier.
Then the cart was uncovered. It contained, not coffins, but
convict uniforms. The sentence of death had been only a threat,
a "lesson not to be forgotten". But one who had been blind-
folded to be shot had gone mad, and never recovered. Not one
escaped without lifelong injury to his nervous system. And the
twenty minutes without coats in the fierce cold of a Russian
December morning meant that some had their ears and toes
frozen, and one got chronic inflammation of the lungs which
developed into tuberculosis.
Dostoievsky confessed that he had not lived as he thought
he would live if he were to "return to life again". He did not
keep careful account of his minutes when that "eternity of
days" was returned to him, those riches of time, but wasted
many a minute. A. E. Baker makes this illuminating comment:
All his life he was the man for whom time had
stood still, who had faced the ultimate brute fear,
who knew, as Andre Malraux has expressed it,
that if life is worth nothing, nothing is worth a
life. Arthur Koestler was condemned to death by
Franco's lot. He speaks of those about to die as
"men without shadows, dismissed from the ranks
of the mortals". Dostoievsky had shared "the
most complete experience of freedom that can be
granted a man". This was behind the everpresent
concern that filled each of his books. He was
always trying to distract his attention from the
soldiers loading their rifles, by the sight of "the
general human distress, the misery of life and
death". Kierkegaard was enigmatically prophetic
of Dostoievsky's literary achievement when he
wrote: "I have determined to read the writings
only of the men who were executed or were in
danger in some other way". 12
It was this traumatic experience, so shocking and so sear-
ing, that led Dostoievsky to conclude that the certainty of in-
escapable death and the uncertainty of what is to follow is the
most dreadful anguish in the world. The accuracy of this obser-
vation must now be further explored.
On the one hand it is true that all must die. Our destiny,
like the destiny of all men, is six feet of ground. "Dying my
death", says Heidegger, "is the one thing no-one else can do
for me." In the triumph of death all our proud pretensions are
humble and abased. Sir Walter Raleigh, in the last sentences of
his unfinished History of the World, apostrophises the inexor-
able and triumphant power of death :
O elequent, just, and mighty Death ! whom none
could advise, thou hast persuaded, what none
hath dared, thou hast done; and whom all the
world hath flattered, thou only hast cast out of
the world and despised. Thou hast drawn to-
gether all the far fetched greatness, all the pride,
cruelties, and ambition of man, and covered it
all with these two narrow words: Hie Jacet.
All our swelling ambitions, all our aspirations and achievements,
all our hopes and fears, find their grave at last in the experience
of a common mortality. Francis Thompson speaks of man who
. . . dogs the secret footsteps of the heavens,
Sifts in his hands the stars, weighs them as gold
And yet, is successive unto nothing but patrimony
of a little mould
And entail of four planks. 13
13 Prophets for a Day of Judgment (Eyre and Spottiswoode, London, 1944), pp.
Pascal is right : "The last act is tragic, however happy all the
rest of the play is; at the last a little earth is thrown upon our
head, and that is the end forever." 14
The ignominious fact is that we all must die. God's judg-
ment concerning man is this: "You are dust, and to dust you
shall return." ( Genesis 3:19).
There is, however, not only the certainty of inescapable
death, there is also the uncertainty of what is to follow. It is
this which fills our hearts with fear. "He who pretends to face
death without fear", Rousseau affirms, "is a liar." "No rational
man", says Dr. Johnson, in his blunt affirmative way, "can die
without uneasy apprehension." The fear of death, he says, is so
natural to man that all life is one long effort not to think about
it. Epicurus wisely observes that "what men fear is not that
death is annihilation but that it is not". It is not the fact of
death itself but the gnawing uncertainty of what lies beyond
The poet Yeats writes :
Nor dread, nor hope, attend
A dying animal;
A man awaits his end,
Dreading and hoping all. 15
Hamlet speaks fearfully of that "undiscovered country from
whose bourn no traveller returns" which "puzzles the will, and
makes us rather bear those ills we have, than fly to others that
we know not of". "Thus conscience", he adds unhappily, "doth
make cowards of us all." 16 Dryden frankly confesses
Death, in itself, is nothing; but we fear,
To be we know not what, we know not where. 17
If we enquire, more closely, what it is of which men are
afraid, we must reply that it is the thought of that which lies
beyond the grave. There is, says T. S. Eliot, in the sombre,
haunting words of the Chorus in Murder in the Cathedral.
13 "An Anthem of Earth", The Works of Francis Thompson (Burns and Oates,
London, 1937), Vol. ii, p. 263.
u Pensees, 210 (Dutton, New York, 1931), p. 61.
18 W. B. Yeats, "Death", Collected Poems (Macmillan, London, 1955), p. 264.
18 Act III, Scene 1.
17 Aureng - Zebe, iv, i.
. . . and behind the face of Death, the Judgment
And behind the Judgment the Void, more hor-
rid than active shapes of hell ;
Emptiness, absence, separation from God;
The horror of the effortless journey, to the empty
Which is no land, only emptiness, absence, the
Where those who were men can no longer turn
To distraction, delusion, escape, into dream,
Where the soul is no longer deceived, for there
are no objects, no tones,
No colours, no forms to distract, to divert the
From seeing itself, foully united forever, nothing
Not what we call death, but what beyond death
is not death,
We fear, we fear. ls
The Bible says: "It is appointed for men to die once, and
after that comes judgment." (Hebrews 9:27) Brunner com-
ments: "It is not the fact that men die . . . but that they die as
they do, in fear and agony with the anxious uncertainty about
that which lies on the other side of death, with a bad con-
science and the fear of possible punishment." 19 Reinhold Nie-
buhr adds: "Nothing expresses the insecurity and anxiety of
human existence more profoundly than the fact that the fear
of extinction and the fear of judgment are compounded in the
fear of death." 20
The justice of this observation may be demonstrated by
reference to the testimony of Samuel Johnson. He was tor-
mented by the thought of possible damnation.
18 The Complete Poems and Plays 1909-1950 (Harcourt, Brace, New York, 1952),
19 The Christian Doctrine of Creation and Redemption, Dogmatics (Lutterworth,
London, 1952), Vol. ii, p. 129.
20 The Nature and Destiny of Man (Nisbet, London, 1943), Vol. ii, p. 303.
JOHNSON: "I am afraid that I may be one of
those who shall be damned" (looking dismally).
DR. ADAMS: "What do you mean by damn-
ed?" JOHNSON: (passionately and loudly)
"Sent to Hell, Sir, and punished everlastingly."
BOSWELL : "But may not a man attain to such
a degree of hope as not to be uneasy from the
fear of death?" JOHNSON: "A man may have
such a degree of hope as to keep quiet. You see
I am not quiet, from the vehemence with which
I talk; but I do not despair." MRS. ADAMS:
"You seem, Sir to forget the merits of our Re-
deemer." JOHNSON: "Madam, I do not forget
the merits of my Redeemer; but my Reedemer
has said that he will set some on his right
hand and some on his left." He was in gloomy
agitation, and said, "I'll have no more on't." 21
This obsessive fear of eternal damnation alternated with
another fear, even more awful, that of annihilation, Often
in fits of absence of mind to which he was liable, he would be
heard muttering to himself the lines from Measure for Measure,
Ay, but to die, and go we know not where ;
To lie in cold obstruction and to rot. 22
On one occasion Miss Seward was rash enough to say to
him that at least one fear of death was absurd, "the dread of
annihilation, which is only a pleasing sleep without a dream",
which Johnson violently denied, saying: "It is neither pleasing,
nor sleep" 2 *
It is sin, the Apostle says, which gives to death its sting.
(I Corinthians 15 : 56) It is the consciousness of guilt that makes
a man afraid, the secret awareness of judgment to come. The
Christian man, however, is able to face death with a quiet
conscience and a sure hope: a quiet conscience, because he
knows that his sins are pardoned and forgiven; a sure hope,
because Jesus has risen again from the dead. By his death and
21 James Boswell, The Life of Samuel Johnson (Dent, London, 1927), Vol. 11,
22 Act III, Scene 1.
28 Quoted, W. J. Bate, The Achievement of Samuel Johnson (O.U.P. New York,
1961), p. 162.
resurrection, says the Apostle, Jesus has "abolished death and
brought life and immortality to light through the gospel". (2
If we ask what this means in the life of the Christian man
we cannot do better than quote Bunyan's immortal description
of the way in which Mr. Valiant-for-Truth passed through the
river of death.
Then said he, "I am going to my fathers, and
though with great difficulty I am got hither, yet
now I do not repent me of all the trouble I have
been at to arrive where I am. My sword, I give to
him that shall succeed me in my pilgrimage, and
my courage and skill, to him that can get it. My
marks and scars I carry with me, to be a witness
for me that I have fought his battles who will
now be my rewarder." When the day that he
must go hence was come, many accompanied him
to the river side, unto which as he went he said,
"Death, where is thy sting?" And as he went
down deeper he said, "Grave, where is thy vic-
tory?" So he passed over, and the trumpets
sounded for him on the other side.
The Christian man is able to face, calm and unafraid
the final reality of death. With Edward Wilson of Antarctica
he can say: "Death has no terrors". 24 By contrast, the natural
man, without God and therefore without hope, is uneasy and
secretly afraid. "I am", Thomas Hobbes confessed, "about to
take my last voyage — a great leap in the dark." 25
In popular mythology death has always been portrayed
as a hideous skeleton with empty eye sockets, and a long in-
exorable ringer summoning man, and refusing to be denied.
In Lucerne there is a bridge known as the Bridge of Death. In
every panel of the bridge there is a picture of death breaking
into life. Death comes to the soldier, the statesman, the mer-
chant, the beggar, he comes to all and he comes to each, he
comes, a grisly apparition filling the heart with dismay.
24 Quoted, George Seaver, Edward Wilson of the Antarctic (John Murray. London,
1946), p. 294.
25 J. Watkins, Characteristic Anecdotes of Men of Learning and Genius (London,
1808) in loc.
Boris Pasternak, in his Nobel prize winning novel, Doctor
Zhivago, refers to "the centuries of systematic work devoted to
the solution of the enigma of death so that death itself may
eventually be overcome". 26 For the Christian man death, how-
ever, is not an enigma but an enemy, an enemy whose power
has been broken and whose sting has been removed. It is true
that "the wages of sin is death", but it is also true that "the free
gift of God is eternal life in Jesus Christ our Lord." (Romans
6:23) At the last day, when God's triumph is complete, death
itself will be abolished: "And God will wipe away every tear
from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there
be mourning nor crying nor pain any more, for the former
things have passed away." ( Revelation 21:4)
The natural man knows nothing about this assurance of a
blessed immortality. For him, as John Donne once said, "death
is a bloody conflict, and no victory at last; a tempestous sea,
and no harbour at last; a slippery heighth and no footing; a
desperate fall and no bottom." 27
For the Christian man, by contrast, death is, in the words
of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, "the supreme festival on the road to
freedom" : an occasion for joyous thanksgiving and confident
It is impressive to note how often Christian martyrs have
invoked the metaphor of marriage to describe what death
means. On the evening before his martrydom Bishop Nicholas
Ridley invited his keeper's wife, and others at the table, to
his marriage : "for, said he, tomorrow I must be married, and
so showed himself to be as merry as ever he had been before." 2S
Sir Thomas Herbert tells us that Charles I went forth to his
execution with the gay exhilaration of a bridegroom going
fourth to meet his bride: "This is my second Marriage Day;
I would be as trim today as may be; for before night I hope
to be espoused to my blessed Jesus." 29
Trevor Huddleston, author of Naught for Your Comfort,
has edited a collection of letters, written by men on the eve of
their execution at the hands of the Nazis, entitled, Dying We
20 (Collins, London, 1958), p. 19.
27 The Sermons of John Donne (New York, 1958), p. 233.
28 J. Fox, A Universal History of Christian Martydrom (London) 1848), p. 862.
29 The Trial of Charles I (The Folio Society, London, 1959), p. 126.
Live. From his prison cell in Hamburg Hermann Lange wrote
a final farewell letter to his parents. It is a letter of jubilant
expectation and joyous hope.
When this letter comes to your hands, I shall no
longer be among the living. The thing that has
occupied our thoughts constantly for many
months, never leaving them free, is now about to
happen. If you ask me what state I am in, I can
only answer: I am, first, in a joyous mood, and
second, filled with great anticipation. As regards
the first feeling, today means the end of all suf-
fering and all earthly sorrow for me — and "God
will wipe away every tear from your eyes". What
consolation, what marvellous strength emanates
from faith in Christ, who has preceded us in
death. In Him, I have put my faith, and precisely
today I have faith in Him more firmly than
ever, and I shall not yet be confounded. As so
often before, I should like now also to refer you
once again to St. Paul. Look up the following
passage: 1 Corinthians 15: 43f, 55; Romans 14:
8. In truth, look where you will — everywhere
you will find jubilation over the grace that makes
us children of God. What can befall a child of
God? Of what, indeed, should I be afraid? On
the contrary — rejoice, once more I say to you,
rejoice. And as to the second feeling, this day
brings the greatest hour of my life! Everything
that till now I have done, struggled for, and
accomplished has at bottom been directed to this
one goal, whose barrier I shall penetrate today.
"Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have
entered into the heart of man, the things which
God hath prepared for them that love Him" ( 1
Cor. 2:9). For me believing will become seeing,
hope will become possession, and I shall forever
share in Him who is love. Should I not, then, be
filled with anticipation? What is it all going to
be like? The things that up to this time I have
been permitted to preach about, I shall now see !
There will be no more secrets nor tormenting
puzzles. Today is the day on which I return to
the home of my Father; how could I fail to be
excited and full of anticipation? And then I shall
see once more all those who have been near and
dear to me here on earth.
From the very beginning I have put everything
into the hands of God, if now he demands this
end of me — good, His will be done.
Until we meet gain above in the presence of the
Father of Light,
your joyful Hermann. 30
That is the authentic Christian confidence: a sure and
certain hope of resurrection unto eternal life. T. S. Eliot likens
the way men die to the whispering of a dying dog :
This is the way the world ends,
This is the way the world ends,
This is the way the world ends,
Not with a bang but a whimper. 31
For the Christian man, however, the last word is not with the
grave but with God : that is why there is no whimpering and
no whining, no repining and no complaining. That is why the
Christian man is able to say, with the Shepherd Psalmist:
"Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of
death, I fear no evil; for thou art with me" (23:4), and that
is why the Apostle Paul is able to say: "For I am sure that
neither death, nor life . . . will be able to separate us from the
love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord". (Romans 8:38-9) .
yo (Fontana Books, London, 1958), pp. 89-90.
31 "The Hollow Men", The Complete Poems and Plays 1909-1950. (Harcourt,
Brace, New York, 1952), p. 59.
Contemporary Theological Commentary
WINDS OF CHANGE
There is widespread agreement among English Christians
of the most diverse theological persuasions, that something is
radically wrong with the state of the Church in the country.
David Edwards, editor of the SCM Press, spoke for many when
he wrote last year :
Today change is obviously desirable in English
Christianity. Even more than the country's secu-
lar institutions, the English churches need reju-
venating because they are not doing their jobs
efficiently in the modern world. [Available sta-
tistics] suggest that active support for the
churches comes from under ten per cent of the
population . . . For all the devoted labour to be
observed in them, the English churches need a
revival. They are not aflame with faith or over-
flowing with purposeful activity. 1
While the condition of the churches is universally diag-
nosed as critical, doctors disagree on the kind of treatment re-
quired. Two movements currently abroad in the country —
each concerned for the churches' recovery — may be termed
"the Quest for a Relevant Message" and "the Quest for the
Life of the Spirit". 2 This article seeks, at the risk of gross over-
simplification, to describe the movements as they are repre-
sented in and about Cambridge University. It may be ques-
tioned how far the situation here is typical. Yet in Cambridge,
perhaps as much as anywhere else in England, each of these
"quests" is underway.
/. The setting: Cambridge and Christianity
In certain respects this university is typical of many. An
appreciable number of students profess Christianity in one form
1 The Honest to God Debate, pp. 14f.
2 These titles are an attempt to represent the leading ideas of the respective move-
ments. It is not suggested that the concerns are mutually exclusive.
or another. Of the 19 religious societies listed in Varsity Hand-
book, 13 are Christian. The largest of these, the Cambridge
Inter-Collegiate Christian Union (or "CICCU", an organ of
IVF) averages an attendance of 250 at its weekly Bible Read-
ings. All but one of the 23 colleges provide Anglican chapel
services; one estimate is that a quarter of the students attend
chapel at least occasionally.
The prevalent attitudes range from total indifference to
blatant antagonism. By many an undergraduate the Church is
taken for granted, but not taken seriously. Many of her beliefs
and practices are familiar and tolerable, but thought to be
"rather boring" — a boredom perhaps occasionally relieved
by amusement at a clergyman's expense. Of Christianity's an-
tagonists, the most noteworthy are the Humanists. They cannot
claim to have made the impact upon Cambridge that their
sister society has made upon Oxford; 3 yet their numbers are
said to be increasing. One of the Church's most vocal opponents
in the university is Dr. Francis Crick, Nobel Prizewinner and
avowed atheist, who has recently gained some (though no
official!) support for his proposal that college chapel services
be abolished, and the buildings used for other purposes.
Yet the situation in Cambridge during the past two years
could not be called typical. If apathy and antagonism toward
Christianity still prevail, there has also been a remarkable out-
break of interest in Christian theology. For this, our first "ques-
ters" deserve much of the credit.
//. The Quest for a Relevant Message
Published in 1962 was Soundings, by nine Cambridge dons
and a professor in Birmingham U. The Introduction states :
The authors of this volume of essays cannot per-
suade themselves that the time is ripe for major
works of theological construction or reconstruc-
tion ... It is a time for making soundings, not
charts or maps (p. ix) . Our task is to try to see
3 The Oxford Humanists number about 1000 (in a university of 9000, also the
size of Cambridge). On Feb. 18, 1964, The Cambridge Debating Union considered
the motion "Humanism without God is not enough", and passed it by 159 votes to
101. According to Varsity (undergraduate newspaper), the reason for the success
of such a motion "is simply that a great army of the faithful, who never set foot
in the chamber on other occasions, turn up just to vote, thereby saving God the
embarrassment of losing face in the Union."
what the questions are that we ought to be facing
in the nineteen-sixties (p. xi) . 4
In February, 1963, a course of four lectures entitled "Objections
to Christian Belief" was addressed to university audiences aver-
aging 1500. Later in the year the series was published; in the
Introduction Dr. A. R. Vidler wrote: "We hold that it is more
important to try to plumb the depths of the objections, without
complacently assuming that answers are readily available.
[These lectures were] intended to be disturbing rather than re-
assuring" (p. 8; cf. "Religion", Time, March 6, 1964).
Then in March, 1963, came the first four printings of
Honest to God, by John A. T. Robinson, an Anglican bishop
and formerly Dean of Clare College, Cambridge. Essentially a
popularization of Bultmann, Tillich and Bonhoeffer (see "Re-
ligion", Time, April 12, 1963), the book has been a runaway
best seller, 5 and has stirred up the country's hottest theological
controversy in years. When the Bishop came to preach in Cam-
bridge last October, the University Church was jammed with
Whatever their differences, the authors of the above works
appear to concur in their general view of the "contemporary
situation", and of the Church's task if she is to have much
effect upon this situation.
Dr. Robinson is representative. The burden of his Cam-
bridge sermon in October (entitled "What's the Point of the
Honest to God Debate?"), was: We live in an age that marks
a revolt against the metaphyscial, the supranatural, the mytho-
logical and the religious. Faced with this situation, the Church
must be prepared to subject her most cherished beliefs to the
closest scrutiny. 6 Christian theology must make clear the dis-
tinction between the reality of God and the various imagery
that seeks to describe this reality. The reality is absolute, but
the imagery is not. Accordingly, contemporary man's under-
standing of God and the Christ-event must not be made de-
pendent upon his acceptance of certain thought-forms and
4 Cf. two of the chapter headings: "Beginning All Over Again"; "Towards a
Christology for Today."
5 As of last March, nearly a million copies were in print.
6 In a course of lectures last winter (corresponding to the "Objections" series),
two of the titles were: "Is God real?"; and "Is Christ unique?".
myths by which the Bible represents these realities (e.g., God
"up there"; Christ born of a virgin, and literally "ascending") .
We must be prepared to discard old images and replace them
with new, if men are hereby enabled better to understand the
reality behind the images. 7 Furthermore, the Church must
stress that Christianity has to do with all of life ; a man must not
be asked to enter a "religious sector" in order to become a
It is clear from conversations in college dining halls and
common rooms, and from the proliferation of talks and discus-
sions on the ideas propounded in Soundings, Objections and
Honest to God, that this general approach appeals to a lot of
undergraduates. How many of them are intellectually stimu-
lated, and no more? How many are confirmed in their skep-
ticism? How many genuine commitments to Christ result? Per-
haps future surveys will provide some of the answers.
III. The Quest for the Life of the Spirit.
The Rev. David Watson, Curate of an Anglican church
in Cambridge, stated last March (in a private communica-
A small but growing number of Christians, in-
cluding many ministers, have experienced an in-
tense thirst for the living Christ. Many have
known the 'baptism 5 or 'filling' of the Spirit (the
terminology varies). Some of the 'gifts of the
Spirit' have been in evidence. Most of all, there
has been a longing to see the glory of the Lord :
c O that Thou wouldst rend the heavens and come
Accordingly, this year's Islington Conference, convened on
January 7 in London by Anglican Evangelical clergy, was de-
voted to the theme The Holy Spirit in the Life of the Church,
and featured addresses on "The Individual Christian and the
Fulness of the Spirit", and "The Country and Revival." 8
7 Cf. Hugh Montefiore, Vicar of the Cambridge U. Church, writing in New Radical
(Cambridge Tory periodical) : "Radical reform, yes; but a completely fresh start —
why, it's not even worth the trouble. Christian iconoclasm is needed; but not the
destruction of that which the image seeks to represent" (Spring, 1964).
8 A series of CICCU Bible Readings, on the person and work of the Holy Spirit,
presented in the Easter Term of 1962 by Dr. Leon Morris, has proven to be timely
Whatever the differences among those of whom Mr. Wat-
son speaks, there is fundamental agreement: The great ma-
jority of Christians, they are convinced, have hardly begun to
claim the victory over sin that is promised as the fruit of Christ's
work (Rom. 6) ; have hardly begun to lay hold of the resources
and gifts available through the ministry of the Holy Spirit (Gal.
5:16; Eph. 5:18) ; and are not persistently and passionately
praying for the Lord to visit the Church and the land with
unprecedented blessing. From a Cambridge pulpit came the
challenge last March : "There is much zeal manifest for making
Christianity relevant. There are shocking, provocative remarks
to make people sit up and take notice. But how much agoniz-
ing prayer is there, for God to revive His people and draw
sinners to Jesus Christ?" For men to understand the Biblical
message, and realize that it does bear upon their particular
situation, the work of the Spirit of God is absolutely essential.
Otherwise human effort, however ingenious and zealous, is
futile. Thus the Church needs, above all else, to pray (in the
manner of 2 Chron. 7:14) for a mighty work of the Spirit,
that in and through the Church Jesus Christ may receive the
glory due unto His name.
It is difficult at present to measure the effect of this "quest"
on England in general and Cambridge in particular. It may be
noted, however, that a number of persons are clearly manifest-
ing, in new (for them) and very practical ways, the "fruit" of
Gal. 5:22f.; and have been instrumental in bringing others —
sometimes in great numbers — to a saving knowledge of Christ.
IV. Concluding remarks
The men of the first "quest" are grappling with a very real
problem, namely, How to present the Christian message intel-
ligibly and meaningfully to the English people (who have been
called a "post-Christian society") . Yet they sometimes give the
impression of depending more upon human prowess than upon
divine power. Thus the leitmotif of the second "quest" offers a
needed corrective, and a salutary reminder to us all. 9
From both these lines of approach may be learned the
importance of letting Scripture, under the illumination of the
9 Dr. J. I. Packer writes of Robinson's book: "The bishop's fear that if we stick to
preaching 'the old, old story' nobody will believe it, makes one wonder whether he
still believes in the Holy Spirit (a topic on which, perhaps significantly, Honest to
God has little to say)" (Keep Yourselves from Idols, July, 1963, p. 19).
Spirit, speak to us afresh; of being open to whatever it may
have to teach us. Let us ask anew : What does the Bible teach
(e.g.) about the way of salvation? the Atonement? baptism? the
end of the present order? What did this particular passage
mean to its writer and his first readers? How can it be applied
in my life and parish here and now? Am I really claiming this
promise? or living according to this commandment?
But let us beware, lest in reading the Biblical record
through the spectacles of a "contemporary situation" or a
system of thought, our spectacles become, not aids to reading,
but heavily-tinted sun glasses.
(Mr. Chamblin is a graduate of Columbia Theological Seminary in the class of
1960. He is working toward a doctorate in New Testament Studies at Cambridge
University in England.)
Contemporary Theological Commentary
Two churches in Bremen have abolished the practice of
confirmation. This news was widely reported not only in the
church press but also in the daily papers. The pros and cons
were hotly debated. In these discussions, it became manifest
how deeply, on the one hand, this rite is rooted in our tradi-
tion and how much it is desired. But on the other hand, it has
become obvious that its practice raises doubts and questions in
Because most of the churches in the United States do not
understand confirmation in the way in which we practice it a
brief historical sketch is in order. Even though confirmation
as an official ecclesiastical function became the rule everywhere
in Germany only in the 19th century (last in Hamburg 1832) it
is recognized as a legitimate child of the Reformation. All
Reformers were united in rejecting the sacr amentum con fir ma-
tionis which originally was joined with baptism. Only with the
increasing importance of infant baptism from the 4th and 5 th
centuries onwards it became an independent rite in the west,
delegated solely to the office of the Bishop. According to Roman
Catholic understanding it takes the place of the laying on of
hands which goes back to apostolic times, (cf Acts 8, 14-19;
19, 2-6) . In this rite hands are laid on children when they are
about 10 years old and their forehead is anointed with holy
oil. This is to effect a renewed reception of the Holy Spirit, and
thus it represents added baptismal grace and a strengthening
Since such a sacrament cannot be justified by Scripture,
the reformers reject it outright. On the other hand, they recog-
nize the necessity to instruct the growing children, who had
been baptized as infants, in the faith in order to prepare them
for their participation in the Lord's Supper. Thus there de-
velops on a Lutheran foundation — mainly under the influence
of Bugenhagen — a catechetical type of confirmation: The
children are instructed in the catechism and then at the end
of the instruction period they are confirmed. After confirma-
tion they may take part in the Lord's Supper if this has the
approval of parents and pastor. Pertinent to this type of con-
firmation is Luther's phrase: "Confirmation is instruction."
However, our modern practice of confirmation has its
proper roots in the Strassburg reformation which stressed more
church discipline. Martin Bucer adapts the thought of Erasmus
of Rotterdam substituting the Roman Catholic sacramentum
confirmationis intentionally through an act of confirmation —
similar to that of the Bohemian Brethren. In Strassburg itself
this type of confirmation could not be established on account of
the growing influence of Lutheranism, but it was accepted in
the practice of the Church in Hessen (1539) under Bucer's
urging, and from there it spread victoriously.
Martin Bucer was engaged in active controversy with the
non-conformist thoughts of heretics and anabaptists. Their aim
was to establish the "pure church", i.e., a church of true be-
lievers which should correspond to the congregations of the
national regions. That is the reason for Bucer's attempt to
establish by means of the practice of confirmation a community
centered around the Lord's Table and adhering to church dis-
cipline. Following instruction in the catechism the children
make public confession of their faith and obedience during the
worship service. By laying on of hands and prayer the power of
the Holy Spirit is invoked for those thus confirmed. The formu-
la used at the laying on of hands is: "Receive the Holy Spirit,
protection and guard from all evil ..." By this action they are
presented and confirmed as true members of the Church.
From their original territories Bucer's as well as Bugen-
hagen's types of confirmation have spread through various re-
gions of Germany and beyond. So, the order of Geneva corres-
ponds more to the catechetical type : Following instruction the
children — as early as 10 years old! — are publicly questioned
concerning their knowledge of the catechism ; their answers are
valued as confession of their faith.
Pietism (foremost Spener) and Rationalism have done
much — for very different reasons — to establish the practice
of confirmation generally. If earlier the emphasis was on be-
coming certified as a genuine member of the Body of Christ, His
Church, under the influence of Pietism stress is laid much more
on the subjective confession of personal faith by the children in
the covenant which God has made with them in baptism. This
understanding is very much akin to the ideas prevailing in
more recent times, and thus it contributed greatly to the final
establishment of the practice of confirmation in Germany.
The Protestant Church has not formulated a doctrine of
confirmation, since confirmation was regarded as an ecclesias-
tical rite, but not as a divine institution (sacrament) . There is
no clear theological evaluation of it due to the fact that at its
introduction during the Reformation period various factors
contributed to its establishment. Hence, all that we can do
nowadays, is to attempt a generally held summary of theological
concepts concerning the meaning of confirmation which might
be expressed in this way: Confirmation is a church rite. It is
the means by which the congregation receives the confession of
the Christian faith from the children who were baptized shortly
after their birth and prior to confirmation were instructed in
the doctrines of the church. It thereupon confers on them the
right to participation in the Lord's Supper by supplication and
a benediction personally applied by the laying on of hands.
Thus they are confirmed as members of the congregation gath-
ered around word and sacrament.
On the basis of evangelical interpretation there can be no
confirmation without prior instruction. These classes take gen-
erally two years (here and there a one or else three year period
might be the custom) and they follow a two hour per week
pattern. Instruction is given as a rule to children of 14-15 years
of age. Attempts to push confirmation to a higher age level —
say 18 years of age, as is the practice generally in Switzerland
and in Holland — have failed in Germany for the simple reason
that pupils of the elementary school level leave school when
they are 14 years old. Thus, instruction after that event would
be rather difficult.
The communicants classes are under supervision of a
special catechetical department of the church and they are con-
ducted in conjunction with religious instruction in the public
schools, Sunday School and Church work among young people.
The material to be taught is generally fixed by the catechisms
of the churches concerned, Luther's short catechism or the
Heidelberg catechism. However, more is involved than merely
knowing the material presented in the catechism : the children
should be led to responsible participation in the life of the
After the last lesson, at the latest the Sunday before con-
firmation, the children are presented to and examined before
the congregation. At this occasion the children must show what
they know regarding Christian teaching. Hence, the main part
consists of a catechetical exercise. Discussing the content of a
passage of Scripture essential Christian doctrines are made
plain. Thus the congregation should feel that the children to
be confirmed should rightly be admitted to the Lord's Supper.
The confirmation itself takes place in a solemn Sunday
service, generally a Sunday during Lent. The act of confirma-
tion follows the sermon. The children to be confirmed are
asked to make public confession of the Christian faith. In re-
sponse the Apostles' Creed — either by themselves or together
with the congregation. This is followed by the confirmation
vow. The children are asked if they wish to live in the Christian
faith, keep close to God's Word and Sacrament, be and remain
faithful members of the Church. To their affirmative "yes" the
congregation responds with a prayer of intercession. Then the
rite of confirmation is enacted which is not understood as the
imparting of a special power (against the Roman Catholic
understanding and also against Bucer's "Receive the Holy
Spirit . . .") but as a personal application of the prayer of inter-
cession. Hands are laid on the kneeling children to be confirmed
and each one is given a word from the Bible as a memory text.
Following the service or in a special service a little later the
communicants participate toether in the Lord's Supper.
Problem and Promise
In this relationship of Holy Supper and confirmation there
arises the problem of confirmation. There are questions which
have been discussed for nearly 100 years in our Protestant
churches, ever since they have been clearly stated by J. H.
Wichern. It is an undeniable fact that for many communicants
the service of confirmation is the last one they attend and the
Lord's Supper the last in which they participate. That is the
problem of confirmation which really is the problem of a
Christendom which has become unchurched. Can we justify
in the light of this the vow of children at their confirmation
and their participation as a group in the Lord's Supper? If not,
should not the whole practice of confirmation be abolished?
Today many regard the promise to remain disciples of
Jesus, to attend regularly divine service and to obey the rules
of the church as asking too much of the children at their con-
firmation. It is pretty obvious that they say their "yes" of
affirmation in most cases only as a thing that is conventionally
done, and thus the demand for such a vow could be regarded
as a temptation to take truth not too seriously. Furthermore it
must be asked if children of 14 years of age are not overbur-
dened in any case psychologically with such demands. Many
churches, therefore, do not any more demand a vow in their
new orders of confirmation, but simply request the confession
of faith in the reciting of the Creed. The practice of infant
baptism when this confession was made vicariously by parents
and god-parents necessarily raises the question of personal con-
fession of the child to be confirmed. Before the children are
admitted to the Lord's Supper they should express their faith in
a creedal statement corresponding to their state of general
Also in regard to the Lord's Supper the danger of partici-
pation for merely conventional reasons exists. Out of pastoral
concern the attempt is made to avoid abuse by eliminating the
special Communion Service when the confirmed children atend
together as a group. A general invitation is extended to the
congregation to come to the Lord's Table, and it is hoped that
in this way only those children will come who really desire to
do so. However in most churches the practice of having a
special service for the group as a whole has remained valid —
in the confidence of the Lord's promise to give Himself to all
In view of these perils and trials should we not give up the
practice of confirmation completely? If we did this, we would
throw away a great opportunity which is still given to a "state-
church". It is still true that practically all baptized persons in
West Germany take instruction for confirmation. We still have
the possibility to sow the seed of the Word of God into the
hearts of these children. Let us, therefore, use these opportuni-
ties which are given to us with this period of Christian instruc-
tion. As long as the practice of infant baptism — the legitimacy
of which needs to be critically examined in a secularized state-
church — is maintained, teaching classes as a kind of retarded
instruction for baptism are absolutely necessary, (cf. the con-
nection of baptism and teaching in Matthew 28: 19-20). Only
we must be careful to give our instruction in such a manner that
it leads to a glad and free confession of faith and to a proper
growth into the life of the church. He who cannot make this
confession should not be put under moral or civic obligation to
partake in the Service of Confirmation. Above all, however, we
must take care that the congregation of adults corresponds truly
to that which is content of our instruction regarding faith and
life of the church given to the children to be confirmed. These
young Christians can only be confirmed as members of a com-
munity which is indeed the church of Jesus Christ.
(Mr. Wehmeier, who was a graduate student at Columbia Theological Seminary
during the 1959-60 session is the pastor of a Reformed Church congregation in
Contemporary Theological Commentary
THE VATICAN COUNCIL
Since the opening of the Second Vatican Council, we
have been inundated by a flood of press releases, commentaries,
interpretations, press conferences, statements by Council Fath-
ers and Observers, and other documents.
It is difficult, however, to get an idea of exactly what the
Council itself looks like. We are familiar with the deliberations
of the sessions, but what of the actual appearance of the
The following is an attempt to describe Vatican II as it
looks from the inside. I attended the final sitting of the second
session last December 4, by virtue of a press pass. This pass
worked magic — it was stamped with the crest of the Pope's
butler — and more or less in the capacity of translator I entered
To get into St. Peter's it was necessary to enter the Vati-
can on one side and walk clear around the basilica through the
Vatican State (an interesting journey in itself) to the far side.
The cardinals and bishops and their entourages were also
entering and it took some doing to worm my way through the
confusion. Once I was saluted, mistakenly, by a Swiss Guard
dressed in armor.
Inside I found the press section to be very advantageously
placed — right beside the papel altar, on the platform of which
the Pope's throne was set up. Thus we in the press section were
nearer the center of activity than even the Council Fathers and
had a splendid view of all the proceedings.
There were clerics of every imaginable high rank and
spectacular manner of dress conceivable. It was a caprice, a
fantasia, a macedonia of prelates and patriarchs. There were
stiff diplomats in tails (ambassadors to the Holy See), with
their ladies. Some of these diplomats wore so many medals that
their figures bulged.
The place was a forest of high bishop's hats — which inci-
dentally, fold up.
Some men were running around dressed in Elizabethan
costumes, complete with swords and high ruffled collars. There
were Noble Guards in meteoric costumes, wearing headdresses
with long black manes hanging down their backs to the belt.
One of these was stationed at each corner of the platform of
the papal altar. They were relieved at intervals during the
morning, as were the armored Swiss Guards, by their col-
leagues. If the Swiss Guards are composed of sons of noble
Swiss families, the Noble Guards are made up of noble Roman
One of these Noble Guards had trouble with his headdress
during the ceremonies. Somehow a few strands of it got looped
over his ear. Naturally he could not break his rigid stance
and lose presence by lifting a hand to fix it, so he tried in-
clining his head slightly to the side and twitching the ear,
but it didn't work and eventually he gave up and just stood
there taking it.
The grand procession came in, led by the cardinals.
These filed singly and very pompously one by one into their
special section near the front. Then the Pope was carried in
on his portable throne, distributing blessings as he came, ac-
companied by much applause from all parts of the church
and much camera-grinding in the press section. He is, by the
way, a surprisingly small and stubby man.
The Mass began and the basilica throbbed with gentle
music from the choir, a cappella (no accompaniment). That
singing had the power of a Bimini sunrise — gentle but over-
whelming. The unison responses were sung by everyone.
Certain of the responses ended on the supertonic (a note that
wants to fall one more step to sound 'finished' ) . Those super-
tonics rose up into the dome (under which I was sitting)
and seemed to hang there ready to fall. They were joined by
the genitive plurals of the Latin.
At one point during the Mass the Pope knelt on a pad
and prayed silently. The whole place grew so quiet for about
three minutes (though it seemed longer) that not a cough
was heard and only the eye, not the ear, could determine
that thousands and thousands of people were assembled in the
church. This was soon spoiled, though, by someone far in the
rear who took that moment to blow his nose resoundingly.
After the Mass was over the schema on liturgy was read
through. Ballots were distributed to the Council Fathers and
the business of the final vote was carried on. Eventually the
votes were counted: four against, nineteen hundred-some for.
This result was greeted with a great burst of applause.
The other approved schema, that on communications,
was read and another vote was taken (after the Fathers were
cautioned to sign their ballots with their full names this
time). After another long wait for counting the results were
announced: 1960 placet and 64 non placet.
After the applause the Pope promulgated both schemata,
speaking literally ex cathedra.
Then the cardinals all passed in review, each kneeling
to kiss the Pope's ring and say good morning. Before they
went up they took off and folded up their hats, thus leaving
only little scarlet skull caps on, such as the men wear in the
But one of the cardinals forgot to take off the skull cap
when he climbed the steps to the altar and throne. He was
feeble and trembling with age. How exactly does an aide
tell a cardinal to take off his cap? The aide rushed over,
sidled up very confidentially, as though he were bearing a
state secret, and murmured into the cardinal's ear, his hand
reaching furtively for the cap. But the cardinal caught on
and whisked it off himself.
Then the Pope made his speech, which was unduly long
and seemed to contain little in the way of surprises. It was
difficult to follow his Latin, for he speaks very rapidly and
none too clearly. Certain of the Observers told me that they
too have trouble with his Latin. At the end of the speech
there was a surprise, though, for the plans for the papal trip
to Palestine were announced, an item which had not been
included in the advance copies we had of the speech. The
announcement provoked the greatest applause of the morning.
After this was over the Pope got back on the portable
throne and was carried swaying out, blessing as he went.
I departed and retraced my way through the Vatican, not
wanting to get caught in the crowds. Upon emerging I found
St. Peter's Square entirely deserted, being blocked off. Many
thousands were gathered as near as they could get, all strain-
ing to catch sight of the Pope or of their favorite cardinal or
bishop. They filled the Colonnades, the square in front of
the Square, and the streets. Walls of policemen and plain
clothesmen held them back. As I drew opposite the main
entrance (front door) of the cathedral, the Council Fathers
surged out, dripping every color, cardinal red and scarlet and
white and yellow and laces, hats and trains, rings. At this
moment a clot of priests who had been standing on the out-
side forced the line of police and rushed up to the cardinals.
I hastened on, into the Square. It certainly makes one
feel important to be one single person walking across a piazza
which has a capacity of half a million! As I drew near the
mouth of the Square, hunting for some way to get through
the thousands who were all wanting to go the other way, I
seemed to hear murmurs of wonderment at who was the Big
Potato coming out of the Square. (These may have been
imaginary.) The police managed to clear a path for me,
and I walked back out into Rome.
(Mr. Weed is a graduate of Columbia Theological Seminary in the class of 1962.
He is engaged in graduate study in the Waldensian Theological Seminary, Rome,
Honest To God
By John A. T. Robinson
(The Westminster Press, Philadelphia, 1963), 143 pp. $1.65.
The book which we are considering this afternoon is J. A.
T. Robinson's Honest to God (Philadelphia: The Westminster
Press, 1963). This book has not been selected because it rep-
resents a break-through in theology nor because it offers some
new and startling Christian insight. On the contrary, Bishop
Robinson's book is frankly being discussed because it is a best-
seller. It is a book which is being read and discussed in and
out of the Christian Church. 1
Why is this the case since Bishop Robinson does not offer
us anything novel or unique? In the first place I believe the
book is being read because it does grapple with issues which
concern every thinking believer. Robinson deals with the prob-
lems of communicating the gospel, the understanding of mir-
acles in a scientific age, the location of God in a world of new
physics and so on. Both the average Christian and the pro-
fessional or specialist in theology are constantly faced with
these questions. Any pastor worth his salt must have dealt
with these issues in preaching and counselling within the week.
A second reason why people are probably reading Honest
To God is sheer curiosity. This is especially motivating to non-
Christians. For example, when popular books were written on
the Dead Sea Scrolls they sold by the scores. Why? Because
many non-believers or nominal churchmen felt something had
been uncovered to explain (or explain away) the uniqueness
of Jesus Christ and perhaps the Bible. So it is with the Bishop's
book. Here at least, they believe, they can read the confession
of a Christian, yes, even a bona fide Bishop, who is brutally
honest. Robinson expresses some of their misgivings, vague
feelings and doubts. Non-Christians as well as believers are
curious to hear about what an honest churchman has to say.
But regardless of the reasons, the book is being read by
people in and out of the Church and we need to look at it.
1 This is symbolized by the review which appeared in the New York Times on June
/. The Book Itself
Let us examine briefly the content of the book. It opens
with a discussion of how we talk about God. Do we say that
he is up there? or out there? or in here? None of these seems
to be adequate. They are spatial references.
If we have difficulties finding language to describe God's
location, the same is true with respect to his person. Is God
an entity, a something? a somebody? When we try to answer
this affirmatively we tend to talk about God as though he were
just a large edition of something natural. Or, in other words,
we refer to God as super-nature. Bishop Robinson affirms his
desire not to change the Christian doctrine of God but to
restate the same in some more adequate fashion.
The author feels that Tillich has coined a useful expres-
sion by referring to God as the depth of existence. Depth is
used here as it is in the phrase depth psychology, meaning a
profound dimension not readily observed. Man can come to
know God in, with and under his encounters with other per-
sons and perhaps even things (p. 53) . God is found within the
natural, though he is beyond nature; he is not spoken of as
some foreign object (a super-nature) who crashes into our
natural realm from time to time. In short, Robinson attempts
to reinterpret transcendence in a way which preserves its va-
lidity while detaching it from the projections of supranatural-
ism (p. 56).
This means, according to Robinson, that the Incarnation
should not be envisioned as a space trip which God took from
up there to down here, but rather the Incarnation is God's
manifesting of himself in Jesus of Nazareth. Perfect love, that
which is beyond us, i.e., transcendent, was embodied in Jesus
This manner of talking about God is in harmony with the
scriptural teaching that the holy, the sacred, is to be found
in the common, not in isolation or separation from the natural,
common elements of life. Christ told his followers that they
would meet him in the poor, the hungry and the imprisoned.
By the cup of cold water one's dedication can be seen. The
holy is found and served in the common elements of life.
In terms of ethics, Bishop Robinson feels that we can no
longer entertain the idea that we have a supranatural set of
rules to guide us. Rather we are to respond in love to every
concrete situation in which we find ourselves. Thus we will
be responding according to the will of God revealed in Jesus
Christ (p. 114).
Finally, Dr. Robinson challenges us to consider whether
or not our image of God has not become an idol. Are we
willing to abandon this idol and live in complete dependence
upon the God who has called us in Jesus Christ.
77. A Discussion Of The Issues
So much for the content of the book itself.
Why did the Bishop write this book? He tells us that he
believes that the Church stands on the brink of a new era
in which we are going to have to rethink and rephrase our
theology. We must do this for several reasons.
First, if we expect men to listen to us today we must
speak intelligently. This is not to say that man is to do the
work which only God's Spirit can do, i.e., open another man's
heart. It is, however, to affirm that the church is simply lazy
and unfaithful if she does not address men in an understand-
able way. The New Testament writers wrote in the common
language of the day so that they might be understood. 2
In the second place, we must seek to rethink our theology
to be sure that we have not tied Christianity to a secular world
view or philosophy. As Robinson indicates, "it is going to
become increasingly difficult to know what the true defence
of Christian truth requires." (p. 7).
The latter seems to me to be the most significant reason
for engaging in this study. Have we in reality tied the revela-
tion of God to a purely secular worldview that is now out-
Much of this discussion of God not being "out there"
or the supranatural not being something "up there" might
2 Barth, who could hardly be accused of being apologetic, makes this same point
in Church Dogmatics (Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1962) Trans. G. Bromiley, IV/3,
second half, pp. 850 fT.
3 This is hardly a recent discussion. That is today, this issue has been before the
church almost perennially. It has, however, become sharp again in our day.
seem foreign to you. We can use these expressions without
literally imagining God to be located a certain number of
miles from here. The commotion may appear to you to be
only a lots of dust stirred up by theologians who do not have
anything much to do.
But this is not the case. The people in the First Pres-
byterian Church of Chicken- Switch, Georgia, are not dis-
cussing these issues. But their children are. Under the auspices
of the National Academy of Science and other such groups,
our children are learning the so-called new physics today. The
gap between the knowledge of the expert in atomic physics,
for example, and the first grader's concept of the field is being
diminished daily by a new method of teaching the physical
sciences. 4 A conversation with an advanced mathematician
this past summer informed me of the fact that first graders
are going to be instructed in relativity. The students at Georgia
Tech are having discussions of space travel in which time is
a relative factor. In other words, a new worldview is control-
ling the minds of the on-coming generation.
Now you and I may not be able to grasp this great revo-
lution in man's way of conceiving of the universe, in which
matter is no longer thought of as inert substance but as in
process; universal mechanistic determinism is doubted if not
denied. In short, our children are not conceiving of such basic
concepts as matter and causality in anything like the same
manner in which we learned to think about reality. Bishop
Robinson knows this. He knows that people who grasp this
new view of reality stumble over our Christian concepts which
are anchored in an ancient metaphysics. If men must stumble,
let it be over the scandal of the gospel, not over our barricades
of ancient metaphysical verbage. 5
Bishop Robinson, then, is concerned about the language
and thought-forms of the Christian faith because he knows
4 See Jerome Bruner, The Process of Education (Cambridge: The Harvard Uni-
versity Press, 1962).
5 The revolution in viewing the universe to which I allude is hardly new. It is,
however, reaching the average man in a new way today. The process theologians,
especially Hartshorne and D. D. Williams have been struggling for sometime to
relate Christian thought to the process philosophy of Whitehead. Others are now
taking up this position. See Schubert Ogden's Christ Without Myth (N. Y. :
Harper, 1961) and John Cobb, Jr., Alternatives in Protestant Theology (Philadel-
phia: The Westminster Press, 1963).
men's minds are no longer held captive by the traditional
philosophy of western civilization.
Bishop Robinson is no doubt more concerned about this
problem than we are for a second reason. He has lived through
the recent philosophical debates in Britain. These debates
have been monopolized by linguistic analysis. The British the-
ologians have been challenged to speak meaningfully in a
way which we have not. 6 We continue to use words and
phrases without thinking of their referant or raising the ques-
tion of the meaning of our statements.
One of the fruits of the British discussion is simply this:
statements about God are of a different order from remarks
relating to particular empirical facts.
From an entirely different source, this same emphasis is
being made. The existentialist philosopher seeks to affirm that
human existence can never be discussed on the same level as
the existence of objects. Religious writers have picked this
up and asserted the same thing about God. His existence
cannot be discussed in the same categories as one discourses
about a rock, or else our language inadvertently turns God
into an object.
Today the insights of Heidegger are being discussed
widely by theologians. Heidegger sees a difference between
being itself and beings. The difference must be reflected in
our mode of communication. Language about being cannot
be the same as language about particular empirical beings.
How much more so the language about God. 7
We must pause to note that in our own part of the Christ-
endom the people who tend to see all statements as being alike
are not the logical positivists, but the fundamentalists. "His-
tory is history and don't confuse us with a lot of German words
for the same," they say. "A fact is a fact" and so on. It is
likewise interesting to note that these are the very people who
from time to time lament the fact that there are no truly great
Christians who are recognized poets, novelists or artists. One
Man T. Ramsay, Religious Language (London: SCM Press); A. Flew and A.
Maclntyre, New Essays in Philosophical Theology (London: SCM Press); Mao
Intrye, ed. Metaphysical Beliefs (London: SCM Press).
7 See Arnold Come's brilliant discussion of this matter in Robinson and Cobb's
The Later Heidegger and Theology (N. Y., Harper and Row, 1963), pp. 122-24.
article which I read not long ago exhorted Christians to try
harder and work more diligently so that they could become
great writers. .
People with wooden minds will never become great writ-
ers. These mechanically minded believers who chop reality
up into neat little blocks will never create poems. These are
just the people who, calling themselves the defenders of the
faith, are likely to be found defending an outmoded, non-
Bishop Robinson does not create a problem for theology;
he simply popularizes the dilemma in which we find ourselves.
It seems to me that he is saying nothing other than what Tillich,
Barth and Bultmann have been saying for some time (if you
can imagine these three agreeing on anything) . They unite
in trying to affirm that God is of a different order from cre-
ation and is not to be confused with anything natural. Barth
speaks of the wholly other God ; Tillich says God is not a being ;
Bultmann says we must not even use objective or mythical
language in talking about God. Each in his own way seeks
to stress this truth.
What shall we say to these things? One might take the
time to point out weaknesses in Bishop Robinson's presenta-
tion. One could call in question certain interpretations, use of
material, logical inferences and the like. Many other review-
ers have done this for us. Let me call your attention to other
Bishop Robinson labors primarily as an apologist. He is
concerned that the church be understood, and, therefore, he
seeks a new metaphysical framework for expressing the biblical
truth. By following Tillich and Bultmann as closely as he
does, he comes perilously close to obliterating the Creator-
creature distinction. There is almost an identity of human
spirit and Holy Spirit (p. 49). The Barthians have raised the
flag, warning of a revival of the weaknesses of Schleiermacher's
8 Grover Foley, "Religionless Religion". The Christian Century, Sept. 11, 1963.
Nevertheless, we should remember that Barth himself has
argued alongside the Bishop that Christianity is not dependent
upon one Weltanschauung. Barth has been able to assert the
prior, independent, concrete and "eventful" objectivity of the
divine being over against the contingently independent created
being. At the same time Barth understands man's faith as
both a work of the Holy Spirit and the human personality
and this enables him to speak meaningfully of the unity of
God and man. Barth is accused of inconsistencies and absurdi-
ties because he tries to speak of the duality of divine and crea-
turely realities while at the same time stressing the unity of
both in the Spirit and thus flirting with monistic Idealism. 9
In sum, the Bishop is looking for a new metaphysical frame-
work within which to discuss Christianity. So is everybody else.
We might raise the question of the adequacy of any
thought form to express what the theologian must say. And
yet all theology must be clothed in philosophical dress.
And this prompts me to ask why the Bishop did not talk
about sin. Do we have a new Gnosticism aborning here? Is
the real problem the ability to communicate or formulate
knowledge consistently, or is it sin? One wishes the Bishop
had at least commented on this.
In concluding, let us focus on the virtue of the book: it
does raise some of the right questions. Robinson is asking
us to face the question raised by William Inge when he said:
"We cannot preserve Platonism without Christianity, or Chris-
tianity without Platonism." 10 Was Nietzsche right, in other
words, when he said that Christianity is Platonism for the
Some of us trust that this is not the case. But we are per-
plexed as we attempt to formulate our Christian belief with
the aid of new concepts from the natural and the philosophical
world. And like it or not, all theology uses such concepts.
9 Hans Frei, "Analogy and the Spirit in the Theology of Karl Barth", Unpublished
paper, no date.
10 Quoted by John Macquarrie, Twentieth Century Religious Thought (N. Y. :
Harper and Row, 1963), p. 150.'
u Quoted by Heidegger. An Introduction to Metaphysics, trans. R. Manheim (N.
Y.: Anchor Books, 1961), p. 90.
If we face this situation honestly, at least two things come
to our minds. First, might not the Bishop's discussion provoke
us to think of the relativity of the Christian religion while at
the same time move us to affirm the uniqueness (the once-for-
all-ness) of the revelation in Jesus Christ? Absolute and ulti-
mate authority may be claimed for Jesus Christ but not for
the Christian religion (man's cultural responses to God in
Christ) . If this challenge were to be accepted by the American
Church, we might be able to do something about our Protestant
nativism, which is our greatest liability at the present time.
The second effect of dealing earnestly with Bishop Rob-
inson might be the encouraging of the American Church to
take language more seriously. Language and myth influence
man's understanding of reality; they exercise considerable con-
trol over man's behavior as a consequence. "Language predis-
poses a mind to certain modes of thought and certain ways of
arranging the shared subjective reality of a linguistic com-
munity." 12 By ignoring this we in the Church are no doubt
contributing to the moral confusion of our people as well as
to the frustration of modern man in his quest for identity.
There is a relationship between one's view of himself (Selbs-
tanschauung) and one's understanding of reality (Weltans-
Bishop Robinson does us a service, then, by prompting us
to ask whether the stumbling-block found in the Church's
message is Jesus Christ or an outmoded linguistic and phil-
osophical frame of reference. We must answer this question
with caution, for as John Macquarrie has said:
"At this stage, . . . the picture which confronts us is still
a very confused one. We have seen the old landmarks crumble
and the old dividing lines rubbed out, but new ones have not
as yet got firmly established." 13
"For dissensions are necessary if only to show which of
your members are sound." (I Cor. 11:19 NEB) .
Neely D. McCarter
Associate Professor of Christian Education
13 See Jerome Brune, On Knowing (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1963),
t. t p. 252.
The Historical Jesus
By Heinz Zahrnt
Translated by J. S. Bowden
(Harper and Row, 1963, 159 pages, $3.50).
Often amid the rigors of day-by-day visiting and week-by-
week preaching the busy parish minister finds the task of
"keeping up" an impossible one. And so the theological world
constantly stands in need of "interpretations," books which
can effectively and accurately translate the investigations of
the scholars and pundits. Heinz Zahrnt's The Historical Jesus
is such a book. It seeks to describe the various turns the in-
vestigations of the historical Jesus have taken in the past fifty
years, with special emphasis on the more recent "new quest."
Following the results of the pioneering minds of the continent
like Guenther Bornkamm, Ernst Fuchs, and Ernst Kaese-
mann, Zahrnt sounds an eminently listenable call to the
Church to continue its studies of the historical Jesus so as to
preserve its preaching "from a false docetism or from his-
Zahrnt begins with a survey of the emergence of historical
understanding in the latter half of the seventeenth and eigh-
teenth centuries. A critical methodology developing from
within the discipline of theology during this period led to the
removal of the dogmatic element from exegesis and empha-
sized that the Bible did not suddenly drop down from heaven
like a meteor but was itself the process of a long historical
growth. This emancipation of the Scriptures from dogma
made its most significant impact on the question of the figure
of Jesus. Do the evangelistists give an accurate testimony of
the earthly Jesus (both who he was and what he said and
did), or are they spokesmen only articulating the faith of the
early Church? If the latter is true, then could not the his-
torians cut through these dogmatic incrustations and lay bare
the picture of Jesus as he really was, uninterpreted by the likes
of Paul and John? Liberal theology in the Harnackian tradi-
tion answered in the affimative and gave impetus to scholars
seeking to write biographies of Jesus. Their watchword ran
"from the Biblical Christ to the historical Jesus."
Zahrnt cites five individuals or movements which in
various ways have exposed the fallacies of the "old quest"
and have shaped the context in which the "new quest" has
arisen. Foremost of course is Albert Schweitzer whose monu-
mental work The Quest of the Historical Jesus (first German
edition 1906) uncovered the latent self-deception of liberal
theology and its historical untenability. Schweitzer explained
the phenomenon of Jesus chiefly on the basis of the apocalyp-
ticism of late Judaism and so in turn emphasized the radical
otherness and futurity of the kingdom of God as preached by
Jesus. What Schweitzer could not understand was how the
scholars of the "old quest" had overlooked this strange, un-
worldly element in Jesus' proclamation and had made Jesus
merely a mirror of their own culture and presuppositions.
Historical criticism had simply not been critical enough.
Secondly, the rise of the "history of religions school"
of which Schweitzer himself was a member and of which
Troeltsch was the leading voice tended to undercut the results
of the "old quest" by emphasizing the relativity of history.
Much of New Testament Christianity was described as a syn-
cretistic development from Hellenistic influences. What was
important was not the "real Jesus" but the deity worshipped
in the liturgy. "Here as everywhere the cult ousted history"
Karl Barth represented a third blow to "the latent or
manifest historical pantheism of liberal theology" by taking
seriously the revelatory character of the Bible. Historical
research, though important, can never provide a basis for faith
since the pure historian stops short of where the Bible asks
to be taken seriously — as the Word of God. It is the "given-
ness" of revelation, not historical investigation, which is the
starting-point of theology.
Though different from Barth in intent and scope, the
form critics (e.g., M. Dibelius, Schmidt, and Bultmann) pro-
vided a similar influence as far as the historical study of Jesus
is concerned. They sought to go behind the written sources
of the gospels to discover how the oral tradition was shaped
before the evangelists gave it fixed form in the narrative.
They concluded that all gospel-material was interpreted by
faith and that no matter how far one goes back in the tradition
one always finds Jesus only in the kerygma of the Church.
Finally, kerygmatic theology, seen in Martin Kaehler and
R. Bultmann, followed the form critics in pointing to the
futility of pressing back through the primitive Christian tes-
timony to the earthly Jesus. "Kaehler's whole interest lay in
keeping the decision of faith in Jesus Christ independent of
the course of historical study and thus of the 'learned papacy
of the historians'" (p. 84). Bultmann, by emphasizing that
Christ meets men "in the word of preaching and nowhere
else," has wielded the same influence.
The question then arises: What of the connection be-
tween the earthly Jesus and the Christ of the kerygma? If
the identity of the former is doubtful, do we not run the risk
of theological docetism? Can history and faith be so wrenched
apart? It is at this point that Zahrnt joins his voice with
Kaesemann, Bornkamm, and Fuchs to urge a renewed interest
in the "quest of the historical Jesus." Though written from a
post-Easter perspective, the gospels are nevertheless concerned
with the pre-Easter history of Jesus, not only with who he
is but also with who he was. Faith, therefore, does not pre-
clude but demands historical investigation; an investigation
which does not peel away the kerygmatic shell to get at the
historical core but rather seeks the historical Jesus within the
kerygma itself; an investigation which attempts to establish
the continuity between the proclamation made by Jesus and
the proclamation of Jesus.
Zahrnt in his own interpretation of the earthly Jesus
discounts the methodology of Oscar Cullmann who traces the
various Christological titles. Jesus, he says, did not seek to
justify his mission by laying claim to an office he already
occupied. Instead he appeared as a rabbi or a prophet, and
yet a rabbi or prophet whose preaching and conduct showed
him to be much more. The key word is "authority," the
astonishing sovereignty with which he met men. "In all that
Jesus says and does, he confronts man directly, immediately,
without medium, through himself with God" (p. 114). It fol-
lows, then, that to be related to Jesus is to be related to God;
to follow him in the present means to partake of the future
salvation. "Unsupported by any office, any vindication, or
even any special metaphysical quality, Jesus dares to announce
the imminence of the kingdom of God and thus to realize in
his own person God's gracious purpose" (p. 116). The fact
that Jesus did not rest his case on Messianic titles but revealed
his uniqueness in the "authority" of his teaching and conduct
supports the view that this uniqueness was not invented by
others but goes back to Jesus himself.
This approach can be illustrated by the way we are to
understand Jesus as Son of God. The title, whether used by
Jesus or not, can be misunderstood. It is a designation not
of a physical or physiological quality Jesus possessed but of
his unique attitude within history. He is the Son because he
alone allows God really to be his Father, and in allowing God
to be his Father he shows himself to be the Son. As the Son
he forms the first link in a new chain; in him a new family
of sons begins.
The resurrection is decisive for Zahrnt because Jesus'
death would in effect have been a denial of this directness
and authority exhibited in his ministry. When God raised
Jesus, then, he confirmed his own action, i.e., his unmediated
presence which had been evident in this historical person.
"Jesus is not different after Easter from what he was before
Easter. After his resurrection it simply comes about that every-
thing which earlier was indirectly and obscurely present ap-
pears in a new and bright light. Now Jesus emerges as the
person he really is. Indirect Christology becomes direct
Christology" (p. 138).
Here is a readable and lively report of what has been
and is taking place in an important area of New Testament
studies. The book is not without its short-comings. One won-
ders if Zahrnt has any real appreciation of the varying con-
cepts of history standing behind scholars of the "old quest"
and the "new quest." What he means by "history" is never
clearly defined. Perhaps such a definition demands another
Charles B. Cousar
Associate Professor of New Testament Exegesis.
Essays on Old Testament Hermeneutics, edited by Claus West-
ermann, English translation edited by James Luther Mays
(John Knox Press, Richmond, Virginia, 1963), 363 pp.
The Old Testament and Christian Faith: a theological dis-
cussion, edited by Bernhard W. Anderson (Harper & Row,
New York, 1963), 271 pp.
The interpretation of the Old Testament by the Christian
church is the theme around which nearly thirty essays have
been collected in two recent volumes. Essays on Old Testament
Hermeneutics provides American students with a group of
essays already collected by Claus Westermann of Heidelberg,
some of which had been translated and published in the quar-
terly journal INTERPRETATION, while the rest of the essays
are now made available through the efforts of one of the editors
of INTERPRETATION. The second volume, The Old Tes-
tament and Christian Faith, edited by Bernhard W. Anderson
of Drew Seminary, offers American scholars opportunity to
join in the discussions with continental scholars on the slightly
more specific problem of the relevance of the Old Testament
for Christian faith.
Until recently American Biblical scholarship has been
dominated by the down to earth historical and archaeological
research of W. F. Albright and his followers, as opposed to
the earlier domination of historical and literary criticism stem-
ming from nineteenth century German scholarship. While
there has been an interest in the theology of the Old Testament,
so far no major work in this field has been produced in Amer-
ica. The interests of Old Testament scholars have tended to
be confined to historically oriented studies and linguistic mat-
ters. Except for the eighteen years of publication of INTER-
PRETATION the peculiar problems of Old Testament inter-
pretation have been relatively ignored. Now two significant
volumes of essays invite examination of the important ques-
tions of the relevance and interpretation of the Old Testament
by the Christian church. As opposed to the purely historical
concerns of archaeological and critical scholars, the Christian
faith has persisted in holding that the Old Testament is some-
thing more than a mere record of events antecedent to those
which involved Jesus Christ and his followers. Defining this
"something more" is the goal of most of the essays included
in the two volumes.
A thought-provoking paper by Rudolf Bultmann sees a
fundamentally different demonstration of God's grace in Jesus
than is to be found in the Old Testament manifestations of
grace. The difference is so radical that the Old Testament is
a "closed chapter" (The Old Testament, p. 31) for the Chris-
tian, and the proofs from scripture used in the New Testament
"must be abolished" because they obscure the character of
faith and also because rational, historical criticism can no
longer allow them. While Bultmann still sees a possible "peda-
gogical" use of the Old Testament by the Christian church,
he suggests that a similar — and all important — "pre-under-
standing of the Gospel" could be found within other historical
embodiments of the divine Law ( The Old Testament, p. 17).
Bultmann's argument does not go so far as to attack the canon
of scripture, but he is promptly accused of a modern Marcion-
ism, and many of the other papers found in the Anderson
volume seek to establish a more satisfactory Christian approach
to the Old Testament. Alan Richardson, for example, declares
(p. 47) that "the history of Israel, including the history of
Jesus, is our history, and it cannot mean to outsiders what it
means to us."
Carl Michalson's essay, however, sees value in Bultmann's
application of the idea "pre-understanding" to the use of the
Old Testament in the Christian church. Whereas the middle
ages absorbed the Old Testament into the New Testament and
thus prompted a sort of monotestamentism, historical criticism
has provided the first effective way to treat the Old Testament
in its proper light. Bultmann's analysis of the Old Testament
as a pre-understanding of the Gospel restores a sense of con-
tinuity to God's work, and now the Old Testament can con-
front us with "figures of real historical life, undergoing real
moral crisis . . ." (The Old Testament, p. 63).
Eric Voegelin is also glad to see prefiguration emerge
into the "full light of a science of experience and symboliza-
tion," but he considers that Bultmann's suggestion has a gnostic
character, because of the loss of clear contact between terms
and the reality to which they are supposed to refer.
Another approach to the Old Testament is emphatically
presented in a number of essays in the other volume with the
attempt to set forth a modern typological exegesis and to dis-
tinguish it from allegorization and to protect it from abuse.
Traditional typology has seen certain objects, institutions or
figures of the Old Testament as a kind of visible prediction of
some feature of the experience of Christ. For example, in a
manner similar to Matthew's use of the words of Hosea, "out
of Egypt have I called my son," as a prediction of the journey
which took the infant Jesus to Egypt, John presents the Mosaic
serpent lifted up in the wilderness as a sort of prediction of the
crucifixion. Instead Hans Walter Wolff sees the discovery of
an analogy between the two testaments as the heart of typo-
logical interpretation. Specifically, in both testaments he sees
a witness to the covenant will of God and a fundamental his-
torical continuity. This witness is different in the two testa-
ments, and does not result in an identity between them. The
analogy is one of "way and goal, of shadow and body, of pic-
ture and object, of promise and fulfillment, of engagement and
marriage." (Essays, p. 1 80 ) . In practice Old Testament texts
for which no other comparable document exists must be con-
sidered in relation to the proper New Testament texts because
the student may miss the meaning of the text that the authors
had in mind in their time if he neglects the New Testament
context. (Essays y p. 181-2). In this effort the student is cau-
tioned not to suspend his historical-critical work.
Some highly significant contributions appear in papers
which deal with special topics such as "History and Reality,"
"The Way of Promise through the Old Testament," "The
New Covenant and the Old," all of which appear in the
Anderson volume. Some of these simply illustrate what their
authors consider to be proper hermeneutical method as applied
to particular topics. Of special interest to alumni of Columbia
Seminary is the essay on "The Historicality of Biblical Lan-
guage" by James M. Robinson, son of Professor William Childs
Robinson of the Seminary. The article calls attention to the
historical orientation of Old Testament blessings, and relates
this to current philosophical discussions.
All of the papers collected in the two volumes deserve
the careful attention of thoughtful students and leaders of the
Christian church. Some provide needed cross-examination of
the two central contributions, but it cannot be said that any
single essay provides a last word on the subject of the relevance
of the Old Testament or its interpretation by the Christian
church. A Catholic contributor, John L. McKenzie, offers a
summary characterization of his own effort to formulate a
statement on the proper use of the Old Testament which may
serve for all the papers in both volumes: "Anyone who faces
this question must now answer it by a personal synthesis
which, if he is prudent, he recognizes as provisional" (Old
Testament, p. 106).
James H. Gailey, Jr.
Professor of Old Testament Language
Publications by Members of the Faculty
of Columbia Theological Seminary 1963/4
STUART BARTON BABBAGE
Christianity and Sex ( Inter Varsity Press, Chicago,
111., 1963), 60 pp.
Articles: "Literature has its Manichaens", Reformed
Theological Review, March 1963.
"The Place of Literature in the Life of the Chris-
tian Man", Dior an, vol. 3, 1963.
"I have a joy", The Presbyterian Journal, May
"Evangelicals and the Church in Australia", The
Churchman, June 1963.
"Moral Judgments and the Interpretation of
History," The Churchman, March 1964.
"Scripture Union Notes on St. Matthew's Gospel
and 1 Peter", Scripture Union, London.
SAMUEL ANTOINE CARTLEDGE
Articles: "Commentary on the Sunday School Lessons",
The Christian Observer.
Editorials and Reviews, The Christian Observer.
LUDWIG RICHARD DEWITZ
Books: What Makes a Jew? (Covenant Life Curriculum
Press, Richmond, Va., 1964), 48 pp.
Articles: "Pentecost", Survey, June 1963.
"Old Testament Theology and Missions", A The-
ology of Missions, Columbia Theological Sem-
inary, Decatur, Ga. June 1963.
CHARLES BLANTON COUSAR
Articles: "The Church's Missionary Vocation according to
Luke — Acts", A Theology of Missions, Colum-
bia Theological Seminary, Decatur, Ga. June
PAUL TRAUGOTT FUHRMANN
Books : Extraordinary Christianity: The Life and Thought
of Alexander Vinet (Westminster Press, Philadel-
phia, 1964), 125 pp.
Translator, Bieler, Social Humanism of Calvin
(John Knox Press, Richmond, Va., 1964).
CHARLES DARBY FULTON
Booklet: "The Gospel is Relevant." An address delivered
on Journal Day, August 13, 1963, and published
by The Presbyterian Journal.
JAMES H. GAILEY, JR.
Articles: "Expectation of the Christ", devotionals in Day
by Day, December, 1963.
SHIRLEY CAPERTON GUTHRIE, JR.
Books : Priests Without Robes (Covenant Life Curriculum
Press, Richmond, Va., 1964), 48 pp.
Translator, Karl Barth, The Heidelberg Cate-
chism for Today (John Knox Press, Richmond,
Va., 1964), 141 pp.
Articles: "Karl Barth's Theology of Missions", A Theology
of Missions, Columbia Theological Seminary, De-
catur, Ga. June 1963.
MANFORD GEORGE GUTZKE
Books: Plain Talk about Christian Words (Royal Pub-
lishers, Johnson City, Tenn., 1964), 222 pp.
Booklets: "The Guidance of God"
"The Will of God"
"How to Trust God"
"A Prophet like unto me"
"Epistles of John"
"How to make a success of the Christian Life"
"How to use the Bible effectively"
"How to understand suffering"
"The Secret of Christian Unity"
Radio Addresses, The Bible for You.
PHILIP EDGCUMBE HUGHES
Books: But For The Grace of God (Hodder & Stoughton,
London, 1964), 95 pp.
Christianity and the Problem of Origins (Presby-
terian & Reformed Publishing Co., Philadelphia,
1964), 40 pp.
What Is Happening in the Roman Catholic
Church? (Church Book Room Press, London,
1964), 16 pp.
Articles : "Current Religious Thought", Christianity Today,
26 April 1963, 5 July 1963, 27 September 1963,
6 December 1963, 14 February 1964, 24 April
1964, 3 July 1964.
"Man and His Salvation". Christianity Today,
11 October 1963.
"The Legacy of John Calvin", Editorial, Chris-
tianity Today, 22* May 1964.
Editorials, The Churchman (London) , June 1963,
September 1963, December 1963, March 1964,
NEELY DIXON McCARTER
Books: Hear the Word of the Lord, (Covenant Life Cur-
riculum Press, Richmond, Va., 1964), 220 pp.
Leader's Guide, (Covenant Life Curriculum
Press, Richmond, Va., 1964), 96 pp.
THOMAS HALDANE McDILL
Articles: "Books in Pastoral Psychology, 1963", Pastoral
Psychology, January 1964 (vol. 12, No. 120).
james Mcdowell richards
Article : "The Church and the World Today", Christianity
Today, March 27, 1964.
WILLIAM CHILDS ROBINSON
Books : The Nature of the Church in Christian Faith and
Modern Theology, (Meredith Press, 1964).
Translator, in collaboration with James M. Rob-
inson, Edward Thurneysen, The Sermon on the
Mount (John Knox Press, Richmond, Va., and
S. P. G. K., London, 1964).
Articles: "For Prayer in Public Schools", The Presbyterian
Survey, April, 1964.
"A Plea For Prayer in the Public Schools", The
Presbyterian Journal, March 4, 1964.
"The God of Biblical Revelation and the Schools
of America", prepared for National Study Con-
ference on Church and State of W. C. C, Febru-
"Church and State: A Plea for Prayer in the
Schools 5 ,, Columbia Theological Seminary, De-
catur, Ga., April, 1964.
"In the Fullness of Time, meditations on Gal.
4:4-6", Day by Day, December, 1963.
"The Differing Functions in One Body", The
Presbyterian Journal, January 15, 1964.
"The Nature of the Church", Christian Faith
and Modern Theology (ed. C. F. H. Henry, Chan-
nel Press, N. Y., 1964).